Nashville companies must prove they will benefit locals if they - WSMV News 4

Nashville companies must prove they will benefit locals if they want incentives

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There are hundreds of cranes in Davidson County. (WSMV file) There are hundreds of cranes in Davidson County. (WSMV file)

Take a five-minute stroll through downtown Nashville and you know the city is developing at rapid rate.

More than 200 cranes are scattered throughout Davidson County, according to the Nashville Business Journal.

But some say the boom may start slowing after a major move by Metro Council this week.

With new development comes the promise of jobs, but some argue that promise isn't always seen through.

“We really want to make sure those jobs are going to benefit folks here in town who might be out of work or who might be looking to better their career,” Anne Barnett said.

Barnett is the co-chair for Stand Up Nashville, a coalition fighting to make sure all Nashvillians are seeing the benefits of growth.

The group backed the “Do Better Bill,” now a Metro code, which requires companies to give detailed and transparent plans for local job creation.

If Metro Council sees a developer's plan and doesn't feel it will help the diverse Nashville population, they will not give that company incentives.

“Nashville became a great city by having this rich diversity that we've got now and we're at risk of losing that if we keep pushing folks out who might not have opportunities here in the city,” Barnett said.

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce did not support the bill.

In a letter to council, Michelle Gaskin Brown, the vice president of policy, wrote in part, “When more steps are asked of companies seeking incentives, it will drive some companies and their jobs away.”

“I don't think it should be hard to do what's right for other Nashvillians,” said Odessa Kelly with Stand Up Nashville.

Kelly said if companies don't want to take the extra step to be transparent, then they shouldn't do business in Nashville.

“If you are a citizen of Nashville, then the city of Nashville should be important to you. Be a good steward of the city,” Kelly said.

The Nashville Area Chamber was not available for an on-camera interview Wednesday night, but Gaskin Brown sent us this statement in response to the bill’s passage:

The Nashville Area Chamber is committed to working with the administration and council to continue to grow and attract businesses and jobs to the region.  We will do our best to accomplish that under these new regulations. Now, our attention is focused on working with council on another workforce issue, which is the need for adequate transit to move employees around the region. We look forward to continuing that important conversation.

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