NASHVILLE (WSMV) - On Tuesday, the Industrial Development Board will hold a public hearing on Oracle’s $175-million proposal to build their new technology campus along the East Bank of the Cumberland River. The proposal would bring 8,500 jobs to Nashville, but some people say the deal is moving too fast.
Monday afternoon, Stand Up Nashville and The Equity Alliance voiced their concerns about Oracle coming to Nashville. They say the city needs to slow down and get public input on the transformation. They also want to see the city bring more affordable housing to Nashville and more workforce development.
“Yeah, we know what transformation means, gentrification,” says Charlane Oliver, with The Equity Alliance. She wants to know who will be working at the tech hub, which could be built on the river by 2031.
“Folks that look like me aren’t getting the jobs,” Oliver says. “Black residents who make under $75,000 a year aren’t seeing their conditions improve. But we’re being asked to do more, pay more, and work more.”
Odessa Kelly, with Stand Up Nashville, says the city needs more affordable places to live.
“It’s not ok for us to put these deals together without getting community input,” Kelly says.
Mayor Cooper’s office says they’ve been transparent with the community. In a statement to News4 they said the proposal will go through a public hearing before the Industrial Development Board, a meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee, and deliberation before the full Metro Council before a decision is made.
“As an Industrial Development Board member, tomorrow I am going to move that we defer this vote,” says Tequila Johnson. She also believes the city and Oracle need more time to think this over.
Mayor Cooper’s office responded to the press conference with this statement:
This proposal will bring 8,500 jobs to our city and millions in new tax revenue that can be spent on affordable housing.
Councilwoman Suara has a proposal to declare Metro’s intent to spend a significant portion of property tax revenues from Oracle’s investment – an estimated $9 million a year – on affordable housing. Mayor Cooper fully backs the Councilwoman’s proposal. In his first statement about Oracle, Mayor Cooper expressed a desire to fund affordable housing with a portion of the new revenue.
Oracle plans to bring their Oracle Academy computing curriculum to Metro Schools to prepare our students for STEM careers.
As the proposal makes its way through a transparent process -- including a public hearing before the Industrial Development Board, a meeting of the Budget & Finance Committee, and deliberation before the full Metro Council -- we welcome and encourage all residents to learn more about the biggest jobs announcement in Nashville and Tennessee history.
As for the broader questions of investments in education and affordable housing, the Mayor looks forward to sharing details of his FY2022 budget proposal at the State of Metro on Thursday morning.