City Discuses Uses Of Old 1st Methodist Site

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City Manager Rob Lyons spoke with WGNS after the meeting. He notes that a public meeting will be held in early May.
(L-R) City Attorney Craig Tindall, City Manager Rob Lyons and City Councilman Bill Shacklett discuss ways that the old First Methodist Church property can best benefit the community.
City Councilman Eddie Smotherman stands firm on not destroying history.
There was a good turnout of residents who had ideas to share, but were surprised that they were not given an opportunity. City Manager Lyons notes that a public meeting will be held in early May.

Now that the $1.55-million investment to purchase the original First Methodist square block of property in downtown is finalized, the Murfreesboro city council met prior to its regular meeting Thursday night (4/7/2016) to brainstorm the next phase of the project.

To help keep the meeting on track, the council had a list of six decision points on which to focus:

  • Development goals
  • Identifying potential development partners
  • Land sale process
  • Marketing
  • Incentives, including tax increment financing
  • Potential architectural and structural reports

City Councilman Eddie Smotherman was firm on preserving history . . .

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(Time: 36-seconds)

The city now owns 1.87-acres of land, a square block, bordered by College Street on the south, Lytle on the North, Church Street on the west, and Spring to the east. This is where First Methodist Church met, and it is one of the historic sites that survived the 1912 tornado.

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The city had labeled the gathering as a "workshop to discuss how the investment could best be used." A large number of residents were on hand to give input, but learned that their opportunity would be another date.

City Manager Rob Lyons told NewsRadio WGNS about the value derived from the Thursday night gathering . . .

(18-seconds)

That early May date refers to a time when public ideas will be gathered. Thursday evening's meeting featured interaction between the Murfreesboro city council and those involved in the project.

Assistant City Manager Jennifer Moody explained, "Thursday's meeting was a special workshop for the purpose of developing goals and objectives for the 1.87-acres of property that was just acquired by the city. The property, located at East College and Church Street, was purchased from Franklin Synergy Bank."

The cash purchase of the property allows the bank to lease space in its former headquarters building for a period of time. A lease agreement between the City of Murfreesboro and Franklin Synergy was approved by the City Council on March 24, 2016, so the bank can continue to operate at that location while their new bank is constructed in the Gateway.

Prior to Thursday evening's workshop, city staff members met with Nashville developers to gather ideas for development of the site. Those were included in the council's conversations.

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Eddie Smotherman, First Methodist old site; city use; Rob Lyons, WGNS
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