Before the Metro Courthouse renovation and Public Square construction were complete last fall, the building was fronted by a large expanse of unwelcoming, gray parking lot. It sealed the mood for anyone having to show up for jury duty, traffic court or, worst of all, a Metro Council meeting. After a temporary move into the old public library building on Polk Avenue and, finally, reentry into refurbished digs, courthouse workers and visitors alike have a before-and-after success story on their hands that would make Oprah jealous.
The five-level parking garage is now out of sight and subterranean, leaving more than two acres of the entire public plaza a green roof over all those tons of concrete. The seven-acre-plus expanse in front of the courthouse is now essentially a park, a civic open space, with native plantings, a reflecting pool, two observation towers, elliptical green space, a market plaza for vendors and fountains, among other features. Interestingly enough, the plants are watered with irrigation that uses harvested rainwater from the green roof parking deck. It’s stored in a 63,000-gallon tank within the parking structure.
Inside the courthouse itself, perhaps the best restoration happened within the mayor’s office, where beautiful carved wood walls that were, inexplicably, painted over during a past mayoral administration decades ago are now exposed in all their glory.
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If you choose to get in touch with your government officials, scroll down.
Local Government Officials Serving 2003-2007
MAYORBill Purcell107 Metro CourthouseNashville, TN firstname.lastname@example.org, 862-6000
VICE MAYOR & PRESIDENTHoward Gentry Jr.email@example.com, 320-6080
COUNCIL MEMBERS AT-LARGE
Buck Dozierbuck.firstname.lastname@example.org, 868-4042Diane Neighborsdiane.email@example.com, 262-2807
Carolyn Baldwin Tuckercarolyn.firstname.lastname@example.org, 868-4060
David Brileydavid.email@example.com, 429-6533
Adam Dreadadam.firstname.lastname@example.org, 665-2405
DISTRICT COUNCIL MEMBERS
1. Brenda Gilmorebrenda.email@example.com, 876-3665
2. Jamie Isabeljamie.firstname.lastname@example.org, 255-1506
3. Walter Huntwalter.email@example.com, 876-3367
4. Michael Craddockmichael.firstname.lastname@example.org, 226-0521
5. Pam Murraypam.email@example.com, 248-3556
6. Mike Jamesonmike.firstname.lastname@example.org, 227-5940
7. Erik Coleerik.email@example.com, 228-1337
8. Jason Hartjason.firstname.lastname@example.org, 262-6010
9. Jim Forkumjim.email@example.com, 868-4164
10. Rip Rymanrip.firstname.lastname@example.org, 859-0409
11. Feller Brownfeller.email@example.com, 847-3958
12. Jim Gottojim.firstname.lastname@example.org, 883-3087
13. Carl Burchcarl.email@example.com, 883-3695
14. Harold Whiteharold.firstname.lastname@example.org, 889-6572
15. J. B. Loring email@example.com, 885-0780
17. Ronnie Greerronnie.firstname.lastname@example.org, 385-2893
18. Ginger Hausserginger.email@example.com, 783-0106
19. Ludye Wallaceludye.firstname.lastname@example.org, 329-4356
20. Billy Joe Wallsbillyjoe.email@example.com, 353-6248
21. Edward Whitmoreedward.firstname.lastname@example.org, 321-0795
22. Eric Craftoneric.email@example.com, 352-7808
23. Emily Evansemily.firstname.lastname@example.org, 356-6294
24. John Summersjohn.email@example.com, 386-9660
25. Jim Shulmanjim.firstname.lastname@example.org, 292-4344
26. Greg Adkinsgreg.email@example.com, 832-2767
27. Randy Fosterrandy.firstname.lastname@example.org, 834-0562
28. Jason Alexanderjason.email@example.com, 781-0648
29. Vivian Wilhoitevivian.firstname.lastname@example.org, 589-2003
30. Jim Hodgejim.email@example.com, 832-0907
31. Parker Tolerparker.firstname.lastname@example.org, 376-2952
32. Sam Colemansam.email@example.com, 641-5168
33. Robert Duvallrobert.firstname.lastname@example.org, 291-6733
34. Lynn Williamslynn.email@example.com, 385-3859
35. Charlie Tygardcharlie.firstname.lastname@example.org, 646-3295
Curious which of the 40 Metro Council members hogged the mic at the last meeting? Which ones weren’t even in the room during the most crucial vote of the year? What the Metro Benefit Board is up to? What school board members had to say before voting down a balanced school calendar? Or want to catch that puppet show at the public library that your offspring had to miss because of a case of the runs? Hey, somebody’s got to broadcast the boring government stuff. And television station Metro 3 does it like a champ. 862-5046, nashville.gov/calendar/metro.htm .
NASHVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Not that there’s anything wrong with Nashville, but to browse and relax in the Main Library downtown is to feel like you’re in another city entirely—Boston or Chicago wouldn’t be a stretch. But as nice as it is to visit in person, the most convenient service going is our public library’s website, where you can search the library catalog, find out which branch has the Harry Potter DVD you’re looking for or even put the GMAT study guide you want on hold. It’s like shopping at Amazon without ever having to draw plastic. 862-5800, library.nashville.org .
Those who live within the core of Nashville—otherwise known at the urban services district (USD), where taxes are higher and services are more plentiful—are eligible for monthly recycling pickup of mixed paper, cardboard, aluminum and steel cans and all plastic containers. For those who live on the outskirts and for USD residents who simply can’t sit idly by and watch their glass castoffs go to a landfill, there are nine recycling drop-off sites throughout Nashville to offer folks legitimate green-livin’ street cred. For a listing of those sites and what can be recycled, go to nashville.gov/recycle/centers/locations.htm or call 880-1000.
THE FINANCIAL REPORT OF THE UNITED STATES
On one hand, it’s such a waste that Congressman Jim Cooper, who represents Nashville, toils in relative obscurity in D.C. with 434 chuckleheads whose intellect he could fit in his little finger. On the other hand, we’re lucky to have someone working on our behalf who has intellectual curiosity and a willingness to tell the truth. To wit: Cooper convinced Thomas Nelson to publish what David Broder of The Washington Post has characterized as one of the most secretive documents in D.C.—the U.S. Treasury’s “The Financial Report of the United States”—and with it is a forward by Cooper, who writes, among other things, that America’s debts and commitments total not the $8.3 trillion that the Bush administration wants us to believe but $49 trillion. And did you know that “the federal agency that keeps the worst books is the Department of Defense”?
“Economists politely call many of these trends ‘unsustainable,’ ” Cooper writes in his forward. “I call them the road to ruin. And the following information is not a partisan attack; this is an official document of the U.S. Government issued by the Bush Administration itself.” Available at Davis-Kidd or at Amazon.com.