Standing Room Only at Main Street Murfreesboro's Monday Night Town Hall Meeting

Jun 04, 2024 at 07:02 am by WGNS

Murfreesboro, TN – Main Street Murfreesboro had standing-room-only in its meeting room Monday evening as Mayor Shane McFarland had a casual question and answer session with downtown business owners. The mayor started with the “hot topics” that included traffic and a lack of parking spaces in the downtown business district. He said, “I know your feelings about needing more parking for customers.”


The discussion included government parking and further revolved around government offices taking up 50 to 60 percent of the spaces around the downtown area. McFarland noted that are 40-feet wide, there is no way for merchants to supply and fill the parking demand.

One business owner asked about selling parking passes to businesses, so their employees can park without having to move their cars every two-hours. Evidently, most of the downtown parking spaces have 2-hour restrictions. After a vehicle is parked for that initial 2-hour period, the vehicle has to be moved or face being ticketed.

Mayor McFarland noted, “I’ve grown beyond worrying about being politically correct,” further suggesting that if parking passes were sold, “...there would be little or no parking left for customers.”

In one coping mechanism to deal with traffic, the mayor said that 18 downtown signals have been upgraded. He noted that the upgrades to the traffic lights help to coordinate the timing of the red lights and green lights, allowing for a better flow of traffic.

The mayor added, “Downtown improvements are difficult; it’s hard to fix old infrastructure.”

One of the first improvements that took place when the Main Street Murfreesboro organization began in 1985, was to recreate the feel of early Murfreesboro, by helping business owners remove aluminum fronts that were once on their buildings, thus re-introducing the varied buildings in their original beauty. Brick sidewalks designed to be “trip free,” were also added, which offered more accessibility to walkers with the added bonus of handicap crossings.

ADA compliance has changed over the years, and McFarland told Monday night’s gathering, “Old brick sidewalks are not ADA compliant. As a result, when repairs are needed, the City is forced to make the repairs while making it conform to ADA regulations.”

Downtown Living is a Must - There are almost no living spaces in the downtown Murfreesboro area. A study of the feasibility to use some of the vacant second floor space around the square is still in progress.

The mayor underlined, “Today’s generation wants to live downtown and until we offer that lifestyle, we’re not going to see businesses around the square reach their potential.”

As for the massive Broad Street project , that will sit at the intersection of Broad and South Church Street, is nearing its “ground breaking” stage . This large section of property that is behind the Murfreesboro City Hall, will offer a mix of resident-owned condominiums, as well as rental units.

The project known as “One East College, LLC,” sits completely frozen in time and looks the same as it did during the start of the COVID Pandemic. This one square block that is next to the Center for the Arts, is the historic site of the old
First Methodist Church. Clearing of the acreage began during the summer, 2019, when developers for One East College, LLC agreed to purchase the City owned property for $1.8-million. Before being cleared, it was the location of a bank, but originally First United Methodist Church.

Plans are still in place to preserve the sanctuary and bell tower. The surrounding structures that were originally church classrooms, offices and a gymnasium, were demolished about 4-years ago. The property encompasses 2.42-acres.

About one year ago, Mayor McFarland told WGNS News about the City of Murfreesboro getting involved in discussions with the developer of the 2.42-acre parcel... Despite that involvement, there is still a lack of activity on the property that sits at the intersection of College and Spring Street's.

Once the Main Street Town Hall meeting officially adjourned, it was realized by some in attendance that it was, in reality, a meeting that quickly turned into a “one on one” with the mayor.

LIVE on the RADIO: You will have an opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with Mayor McFarland on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, from 8:10 to 9:00AM, LIVE on WGNS. The mayor will be on the air with the phone lines opening for questions via text or calls by dialing 615-893-1450. In fact, the radio station opens it telephone line daily – all to receive public input. Tune in to AM 1450, FM 100.5, FM 101.9 or listen on to hear who our daily guest is. Again, be sure to text or call-in any questions for those guests by dialing 615-893-1450.


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