Growth | Nashville Public Radio

Growth

Meribah Knight / WPLN

  

Tucked away on a leafy side street in East Nashville, Lockeland Elementary Design Center is ranked the fourth-best in the district. But in recent years, the student body at Lockeland has gone from half African-American to nearly all white. It's a shift so stark that a group of parents say the school must do something to change it.

Joe Buglewicz for WPLN

The last radio story in this series reveals the scope of The Promise, WPLN's special podcast series. Reporter and producer Meribah Knight spent over a year reporting on life in the James Cayce Homes, Nashville's largest public housing complex.

Courtesy of Tonya Shannon

There is a saying in Nashville’s James Cayce Homes: “Get some gone.”

Three simple words that describe the urge, the mission, to move out and start anew, far away from the city’s largest public housing project.

Some do leave. But it's not easy, especially with the city's rising cost of rent. "I mean, half of us, we can't afford to move up out of here. Get some gone," says Big Man, a Cayce resident since 1999.

Joe Buglewicz for WPLN

After Big Man, a resident of Nashville's largest public housing complex, the Cayce Homes, meets his wealthy white neighbors up the hill, a friendship blooms. It's the last thing he expected to happen. For months this house, an imposing white modern structure, had nagged at him. It's very presence threatened his sense of place in this rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

Meribah Knight / WPLN

Nashville's historic Edgehill neighborhood is debating whether to apply a conservation overlay to a small portion of the community. And the plan has divided longtime residents over its effects on the neighborhood.

Meribah Knight / WPLN

An East Nashville neighborhood is at odds over bike lanes. A group of residents and local bike commuters have been pushing to install the lanes in Cleveland Park. But another group of vocal longtime residents strongly opposes the project. And the issue signifies a much deeper rift in the community.

Meribah Knight / WPLN

Nashville's housing authority has granted the Martha O'Bryan Center a nearly three-year extension to fundraise for the nonprofit's new school in East Nashville's James Cayce public housing complex. And despite the request, housing officials say they're not worried about the future of the project.  

Meribah Knight / WPLN

The James Cayce public housing complex is coming down.

On South 8th Street in East Nashville, the shovel of a giant trackhoe is eating through the roof and walls of a brick, two story apartment building.

Lenekra Head looks on from her balcony.

"It's astonishing how it's there and then it disappears," she says.   

Blake Farmer / WPLN

The median price for a single family home just keeps climbing in the Nashville area — coming in a hair shy of $300,000 last month.

Meanwhile, the overall closings, the numbers of homes sold in the region, has ticked down some — by 4.5 percent compared to this time last year. But make no mistake, this is still boom times for home sales in the region. 

Julieta Martinelli / WPLN

2018 is going to be a big year for public housing. Nashville will be renovating, or planning renovations, for four public housing developments — The James Cayce homes in East Nashville, the Edgehill Homes in South Nashville and the JC Napier and Sudekum apartments, just south of downtown. All together they're home to about 5,000 people. 

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