John Cooper took the oath of office as Nashville’s new mayor Saturday at Stratford High School, where he said Nashville is about to transform into a different type of city.
In his inaugural speech, Cooper said his administration would show more transparency, focus on neighborhoods and would turn into a place “where tourism benefits residents — and not the other way around.”
“Some people have thought the revenues generated downtown should stay downtown. I disagree. The people of Nashville have made an investment, and now is the time to spread the benefits of growth, not just the costs, to all of our neighborhoods. It is the time to invest in Jefferson Street and Antioch and Donaldson and Bellevue and Goodlettsville and the other neighborhoods that make this a great city,” Cooper said.
“Now, downtown has been, of course, the heart of our economy, but we must ensure that it circulates the benefits of growth to all of our neighborhoods. We need to invest in sidewalks, in protecting and expanding our tree canopy and becoming a sustainable, resilient city, a city of parks and greenways, and our creeks and rivers outline what should become one of America’s greatest parks systems.”
Cooper and newly-sworn in Vice Mayor Jim Shulman seemed especially preoccupied with the additional diversity on the Metro Nashville Council.
Shulman told the audience at the school that the council has its first Hispanic woman, its first Muslim and is evenly split between men and women.
“And it has its largest contingent ever of LGBT members,” Shulman said.
Cooper, meanwhile, said that “in a great city, incomes and wages go up for everyone.”
“(That happens) without the costs of growth forcing our neighbors to leave,” Cooper said.
“It’s easy to have an environment where that doesn’t happen, where the benefits of growth don’t go everywhere, where people lose track of wage growth for everyone. That is why we have to invest in our people and our job is to make sure that our residents are ready for the great jobs that our city is now attracting.”
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