From left, Cecilia Prado with Workers Dignity waits with Mosaic apartment tenant Nicolas Alvarado and son Nery, 7, who wait to speak to management about eviction threats at a June hearing. (Photo: John Partipilo)
A coalition of immigrant, labor and civil rights groups are once again asking Metro Nashville officials to slow down development projects, including the massive Oracle headquarters, along the east bank of the Cumberland River.
Representatives from Stand Up Nashville, the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition and the Equity Alliance want surveys conducted of residents in nearby communities to find out how the development could affect them, they said at a Wednesday event.
Tamika White, statewide volunteer coordinator for The Equity Alliance, said members of her group hav already started to see neighborhoods being displaced as a result of developers seeking to build expensive condominium projects..
Residents living in Mosaic Apartments near Glenview Elementary School reported to community leaders that they had initially been given three days to find new lodgings, despite having active contracts.
While Metro officials were able to intervene and prevent evictions in the case of Mosaic, residents living in trailers at W.C. Company Mobile Community, located on Dickerson Pike, have complained they are receiving the same treatment from their landlord.
Many of the residents own their trailer homes and pay rent to live on the property, but because the landlord sought to sell to developers from New Orleans, tenants risk losing their space .
“As a native of South Nashville, I have watched this city make changes over and over. I have watched developers come in and change the makeup of our city. My friends and family can no longer afford to live here, and it’s wrong,” said White.
“250-plus families are about to be displaced in January of next year,” she added.
Organizers also addressed concerns about whether developers would hire local residents, increase living wages, improve public transportation and develop more affordable housing units for workers.
“When I worked, we had to pay for our own parking,”’ said Brenda Waybrant, co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center, a restaurant workers-rights organization.
“We either had to take an Uber or a Lyft because most of us lived out of town because we couldn’t afford to live close to where we worked.”
“Paying for parking is about $25 downtown and Uber or Lyft is about $30 a day,” Waybrant added. “For [most of our] workers, they make maybe $12 an hour. That’s two hours of work just to get to the building they work in.”
Andrea Fanta, spokesperson for Mayor John Cooper, said Metro officials are working with a diverse group of Nashville residents to plan the East Bank redevelopment.
“Mayor Cooper’s vision is for the East Bank of Nashville’s river to become our city’s next great neighborhood through an expert planning process that includes strong community engagement,” said Fanta.
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