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Poplar Talks

Shifting from big picture to small goals

Zoe Haggard
Posted 5/21/22

Can a community grow too fast? With all the developments coming to Bedford it’s hard not to think about that question.

If you’ve talked to me before, you probably know I am from …

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Poplar Talks

Shifting from big picture to small goals

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Can a community grow too fast? With all the developments coming to Bedford it’s hard not to think about that question.

If you’ve talked to me before, you probably know I am from Nolensville in Williamson County. I tell people that, and the response is always the same: “Wow, that place has really grown.”

An understatement.

Not only has it grown but it’s lost personality and practicality because they built the plane while they were flying. Not to mention, I lived in Murfreesboro for over three years and watched it explode in just that short amount of time.

It’s a positive that for the first time Shelbyville City and Bedford County are working together, communicating their plans and goals.

However, could this mobilization of Bedford as a whole neglect and disrupt the individual communities as well as delay what we need right now?

This is micro-politics and in the day of a globalization mentality, we tend to forget the small communities and the small issues.

That is, something that benefits Shelbyville-Bedford, such as more industry and more housing, could potentially disrupt the flow of a community’s life-long residents. Those are the residents whose grandparents farmed the land, worked the land, and used the land to give their children a good life.

But, no, here comes a subdivision, traffic, and more industrial waste.

It’s what happened in Nolensville. Dairy farms, family lands, and country roads disappeared as subdivision after subdivision appeared, full of young families with children to flood an already over-crowded school system.

Within the span of a decade, three more elementary schools, two more middle schools, and one more high school were built in Wiliamson.

We dubbed it “No-Left-Turn-Nolensville” because officials neglected to put proper stoplights at intersections as well as safe sidewalks. Traffic congestion to the max.

But, hey, Nolensville got three (yes, three) new candle stores in addition to two neighborhood shopping centers! Tourism, yay!

I cover County news here in Bedford, so I understand there are multiple moving parts and that you can never make everyone happy.

But let’s shift the focus from the big picture to the practical picture. What do Bedford Countians need right now?

Let’s sand the walls down before painting. Painting may have to wait a decade, but that’s okay. Slow growth in a community that has not grown in decades is a positive. It’s controlled and it’s calculated.

How do we go about doing that?

First, pay attention to what’s going on. Many people are, and they attend public meetings, speak out, reach out to council members and commissioners. Remember, public officials are public servants.

Second, officials need to focus on a couple areas of focus, and accomplish those goals, before adding another four or five areas of focus.

In this list, what’s most important for Bedford right now? Industry, retail, tourism/recreation, education, public safety, housing, traffic/road repair.

Road repair—getting rid of those potholes?

Education—getting kids out of portables?

Housing—making sure current neighborhoods are safe and aren’t facing code violations?

Public safety—making sure emergency personnel can meet the demand of growth?

Again, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to County development, but I believe we should narrow our focus and conquer those goals BEFORE moving on to the big picture.

When I say big picture, I’m referring to the whole idea of we need to bring in more people—either residents, tourists, or workers—who are willing to spend their money here in Bedford so the County can have more income.

Makes sense. But you’d think with the millions of dollars the County has already, they could figure the “little problems” out first.

Because if you can’t make do with a little, what makes you think you can make do with a lot?

Therefore, let’s not fail to take care of the small communities that make up Bedford and look at what we need now, even if it’s just on a micro-level.

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  • Admin

    Excellent points! My husband and I moved from Shelbyville to Murfreesboro in 1967. There were two apartment complexes and two shopping centers. Yes, that was 50 years ago, but the town grew quickly into a city with many opportunities for which we have been grateful. The past 15 years or so our leaders have been so interested in attracting tourism that they have refused to consider what the majority of the residents want. We have to build a new school almost every year now numbering 50 with approximately 50,000 students! Of course, that doesn't even include MTSU and all the traffic it generates. It's hard to navigate the traffic, especially for those who are getting older, and everyone is in a hurry, creating many traffic accidents. We are now experiencing a shooting somewhere in the city almost every weekend, along with other crime. They are currently planning to build an Amphitheatre in the Gateway, where you can hardly drive through already, plus the second largest sports complex in the nation is to be built on the north side of the city! Our property taxes have sky rocketed and affordable housing is nonexistent. We now spend half our time in Bedford County.

    Shelbyville needs some good shopping and restaurants, but as Ms. Haggard mentions, growth needs to be carefully planned and codes and zoning are needed, especially in the county. Linda Allen Coop

    Tuesday, May 24 Report this