Planning and Common Sense

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2035 Primer: We Give You The Meat Without $50 Words Planners Love

There is always a problem when people write to impress their readers rather than communicate ideas in simple terms. In this series, which has been voted best in Murfreesboro for five straight years, we give you what the city’s planning consultant is saying without all the highfalutin’  talk. We believe the days when we could impress anyone are long past.

You can read the existing draft chapters of the plan by clicking It’s a terrific cure for insomnia.

But why not cheat and read our “Cliff’s Notes” type summaries of what’s in the plan? We guarantee we can get you a passing grade on the final. Here are articles we have posted on the study so far:

Continue reading “2035 Primer: We Give You The Meat Without $50 Words Planners Love”


Save The Church: An Artists Center Could Lure Millennials To City

[Ed.note: This is the first in our long-awaited and award-winning series on saving the former United Methodist Church in downtown Murfreesboro. Like an area jewelry store, this blog has been voted best in its field for five straight years.]

“In my opinion the trees are just as valuable to the land as the (historic Springfield) house is. I could go tear down the house and build another one that looks just like it. Not that I’m gonna do that. … I feel very strongly about keeping the trees.” — Charles Haskett, a developer who plans to build luxury apartments off Manson Pike.

“Mayor aims to ‘protect our downtown’.” — Headline from the Murfreesboro Post. The headline makes one believe that the mayor will fight to save the former Methodist Church at East College and North Church Streets. Three cheers for the mayor!

Continue reading “Save The Church: An Artists Center Could Lure Millennials To City”

Opportunities: “Play It Again, Sam” And Smooth Out The Wrinkles

A city can get a sense of place by being known for its economic specialty. Pittsburgh, for better or worse, was known for its steel mills. St. Louis and Milwaukee became famous for their beers. Chicago’s most famous products were arguably meat packing, wind and Al Capone.

In its planning study for the next two decades of explosive growth here, the Kendig Keast Collaborative offers several suggestions for Murfreesboro to find an economic niche. We’ll look at one possibility in this space today and more in the days to come.

Continue reading “Opportunities: “Play It Again, Sam” And Smooth Out The Wrinkles”

If Boro Population Doubles In 20 Years, We’ll Have To Pay To Improve Roads

Maybe they only travel by helicopter.
“Maybe foes of raising the gas tax only travel by helicopter.”

I recently saw a post from Americans For Prosperity-Tennesse, an adjunct of the national group the Koch Bothers set up. They are proclaiming victory in blocking the governor’s pitch for a gas-tax increase.

In our view, that is a Pyrrhic victory for the people living here now. It has been our position that growth is inevitable here, but it should be responsible growth that is planned for.

Continue reading “If Boro Population Doubles In 20 Years, We’ll Have To Pay To Improve Roads”

The Invites Are Out, But Are We Even In The Race For White Collar Jobs?


“The city is not attracting that many white collar jobs,” Councilman Eddie Smotherman

A planning consultant has told city leaders that the old rules don’t apply any more when it comes to attracting quality companies with high-paying white collar jobs.

The trusted formula was that cities attracted companies by offering tax breaks and other inducements the same way they compete for sports franchises. Workers naturally followed these companies, locating where well paying jobs were plentiful.

""Are the inmates running the asylum?"
“”Are the inmates running the asylum?”

According to the consultant, the Texas-based Kendig Keast Collaborative, that formula has been stood on its head. The best companies are now following the most talented workers. Instead of enticing companies to locate here, Kendig Keast says, the best approach is to make Murfreesboro an exciting place where young, urban professionals want to live.

So how are we doing?

Continue reading “The Invites Are Out, But Are We Even In The Race For White Collar Jobs?”

“Why Can’t We Be More Like Franklin?” Resident Asks Murfreesboro Planners

An apartment developer, who has bent over backwards to please neighboring residents in single family homes called a town meeting Thursday night to try to win them over.

His aim was to convince them that they have nothing to fear but fear itself. They weren’t buying. While no one came away from the meeting happy, it is likely the developer will get city approval for his luxury apartments off Manson Pike. Continue reading ““Why Can’t We Be More Like Franklin?” Resident Asks Murfreesboro Planners”

Squid Sells Better As Calamari

What’s in a name? Maybe a rose would smell the same by any other name to Shakespeare, but picking the right name is important in the development business.

After all, Google was once called BackRub.

"What about the Belgian chocolate compay that changed its name to ISIS in 2013 and then had to swicth again?
“What about the Belgian chocolate company that changed its name to ISIS in 2013 and then had to switch names again?

The idea is to use a name that makes a prospective homebuyer want to drive out and look at your homes. Once you have him on the site, the battle is half won. It doesn’t hurt that once he is out there it might give him a good feeling to think he lives in Sherwood Forest — even though there isn’t a tree in sight. Trees are good.

We have a shopping center on Thompson Lane called The Oaks. Maybe there is an oak there. I haven’t checked it out, but it’s nothing like a grove of stately trees. The Avenue Murfreesboro evokes an image of the upscale stores on New York City’s Fifth Avenue.

Continue reading “Squid Sells Better As Calamari”

Historic Home Is Safe For Now

There is a good chance that the Springfield House, one of the oldest homes in the county, has beaten the wrecking ball.

This treasure apparently has survived another threat.
This treasure apparently has survived another threat.

It won’t be around for us to tour and enjoy like the Oaklands Mansion. But just to know it will still be with us is a relief in these times when it seems more natural to tear something down than to preserve it.

Charles Haskett, a principal partner in Bonavic Development of Birmingham, Ala., told the city’s planning commission Thursday that he is committed to preserving the Springfield Mansion. He said it will be a theme for his apartment and townhouse development on 17.92 acres along Manson Pike.

Continue reading “Historic Home Is Safe For Now”

Hey Cookie! Your Diet May Be About To Improve

Maybe you decided as your New Year’s resolution to eat blueberries every day on your vanilla flavored active-culture yogurt.

"Get to the point. You are really backing into this story."
“Get to the point. You are really backing into the lead of this story.”

Great idea! Blueberries are high in nutrients, low in calories, taste delicious, highest in antioxidants of all common fruits and vegetables and may fight cancer, lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

Bad idea! Blueberries are among those fruits with the highest content of pesticides, according to an Environmental Working Group analysis.

Continue reading “Hey Cookie! Your Diet May Be About To Improve”

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