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Mayor: New Convention Center Would Inject $134.9M a Year into Nashville Economy

Press release from Nashville-Davidson Metro mayor Karl Dean, 6 January 2010:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean presented the findings of an economic impact analysis today that projects Music City Center will generate $134.9 million in new annual spending in Nashville by 2017.

The report was completed by HVS Consulting, which recently conducted an independent feasibility analysis of Music City Center that confirmed demand for the facility and the revenues that will support it. Using the updated demand projections, the economic impact analysis specifically examines the increase in local spending that will be caused by Music City Center over what is currently generated by the Nashville Convention Center.

“This report is important because the reason to build a new downtown convention center – and the only reason I’ve supported this project from day one – is to make an investment in our city,” Dean said. “We have an opportunity to take visitor taxes and fees, and invest them in a way that creates jobs and grows our local economy.”

The $134.9 million total economic impact of the project includes both direct spending from individuals and organizations that will use Music City Center and secondary spending that will result from their activities, such as a restaurant owner purchasing food.

In direct spending alone, the report estimates convention attendees, event planners and exhibitors will spend $86.6 million in Nashville during a stabilized year of the center’s operations.

“If you consider the debt service at $40 million a year, for every dollar spent on building Music City Center, the people that use the facility will spend two new dollars on goods and services in Nashville. When we refer to this project as our own economic stimulus, that’s what we’re talking about. Those new dollars go directly into our local economy,” Dean said.

Using a nationally-recognized model to estimate economic impacts, called the IMPLAN input-output model, HVS estimated that 1,524 jobs will be supported by the total new spending generated by Music City Center. The spending will also produce $11.97 million in new local tax revenue that is not dedicated to paying off the center’s debt.

HVS is a global consulting and services firm for the hospitality and leisure industries. The HVS method for economic study of a project is considered the industry standard. More information about HVS is available here.

Statewide Charter School Incubator Announced for Nashville

Davidson County Metro Government Press Release, Dec. 8, 2009:

“Center for Charter School Excellence in Tennessee” to be developed by charter school expert from New Orleans

NASHVILLE – Mayor Karl Dean announced plans today to develop one of the nation’s first charter school incubators to operate statewide.

The incubator, named the Center for Charter School Excellence in Tennessee, will support and help fund the development of high-performing public charter schools in Metro Nashville, and expand to provide charter school incubation support in school districts across the state within three years.

“During the last State General Assembly, I, along with many others, strongly advocated for a state law that is more receptive to public charter schools,” Dean said. “The new law greatly expanded student eligibility for enrollment in charter schools and the number of charter schools allowed in Tennessee. We need to ensure that these schools are of the highest quality.”

Matt Candler, the former CEO of the successful charter school incubator New Schools for New Orleans, will lead the center’s startup as project manager. His work will include finding long-term leadership for the center.

“Matt is recognized as a leader in the field of public charter schools due to his longstanding work in New York City and New Orleans. His initial involvement will ensure the long-term success of the center,” Dean said.

Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education Dr. Tim Webb and Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools Dr. Jesse Register joined the mayor for today’s announcement and discussed the positive impact the center will have on education reform efforts in Nashville and Tennessee.

“Charter schools are an important partner in developing innovative practices and providing opportunities to serve low-performing students,” Webb said. “This incubator will help Nashville and the state deliver best practices to reform partners as we prepare all students to be college and career ready upon graduation.”

“We recognize the value of having high-quality and highly-effective charter schools that can help meet the diverse needs of students,” said Register. “By their very inception, charter schools require innovative and non-traditional instructional strategies and this incubator will help attract and build the very best not only for Nashville, but for districts across Tennessee.”

The center will partner with the national charter school development organization Building Excellent Schools to offer training through a year-long fellowship program for individuals seeking to become founders of high-performing public charter schools.

“Building Excellent Schools has developed a national reputation for creating excellent schools that prepare their kids for success in college,” Candler said. “The leaders they have trained are closing the achievement gap in dozens of schools across the country. We are honored to have them join us in the effort to close the achievement gap in Nashville and across Tennessee.”

The center will continue to provide support services for the new schools during their first year of operation, including interim assessments of student performance in all grades, governance training for board members, and operation and finance reviews.

In addition to supporting the development of public charter schools, the center will support the expansion of existing initiatives to improve teacher recruitment in Nashville.

“Great teachers are the backbone of any great school, so we will support Teach for America and The New Teacher Project as we build new schools, expanding their efforts in both our public charter and traditional schools,” Candler said.

To ensure its long-term viability, the center will be set up as an independent nonprofit organization. It will be initially funded through the Education First Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which Dean established last year to provide private financial support for new education reform efforts in Nashville.

WLAC Radio & Gill Show to Host Dec. 8 Nashville Convention Center Forum

Press Release from “The Steve Gill Show,” Dec. 4, 2009:

Nashville based, nationally syndicated talk show host Steve Gill will moderate a Townhall Forum focused on the proposed Music City Convention Center on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 from 6-8 pm at the Union Station Hotel in downtown Nashville.

Representatives from Nashville’s Priorities, a group formed in opposition to the proposed new convention center, and the Music City Center Coalition, which has been advocating the construction of a new $585 million facility, will participate in a panel discussion of the project. Mayor Karl Dean has also been invited to participate in the forum.

The Townhall forum will air live on NewsRadio 1510 am WLAC and will include questions from the audience. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

“This is a major project and it will have huge implications for Nashville in the decades to come,” noted Steve Gill. “Before the Metro Council makes its decision about the project the citizens of Nashville should be fully educated on all the details and have a chance to make their voices heard. We are happy to help in that process.”

On Thursday, Mayor Dean announced the proposed finance package for the project. Music City Center would be one of the largest municipal projects in state history and the Metro Council is expected to make a determination on the project in January, 2010.