The corridor study area includes the portion of South Hartman Drive that connects Highway 231 to the West Main Street gateway through the Interstate 40 interchange.
The nine-month planning study will map out potential land uses, explore a potential development scenario, identify cultural and environmental resources along the corridor, identify possible infrastructure improvements and make market recommendations based on demand for potential uses.
“We think is a corridor that has a lot of potential and we look forward to seeing the plan that’s shaped out of it. That plan is going to be shaped by the steering committee and the public. It’s not just a plan that the consultants are going to produce,” said Kevin Gunther with Ragan-Smith Associates and project manager for the study.
Steering committee members include Chris Crowell, Heather Bay, W.P. Bone, Rob Cesternino, Chip Smith, Mack McCluskey, Ensley Hagan, Jeff Hall, Paul Gould, Chuck Lowe and Phil Carter. Members either have businesses or own land along the corridor or have some involvement in city planning.
The study, which covers South Hartmann Drive from West Main Street to Highway 231, includes about 3,000 acres of land directly attached to or close to South Hartmann Drive.
Due to several businesses on the study, four character areas have risen for the roadway – institutional, big-box retail, medical and airport. The boundaries for the study are subject to change as the plan develops.
Ragan-Smith officials met with South Hartmann stakeholders – business owners, developers and landowners – and discussed the issues they see involving the corridor. Gunther said some of the top issues and visions included: creating a gateway for Lebanon; recognizing and enhancing the area’s natural features; providing more residential options besides single-family dwellings; bringing retail and office to the corridor; and promoting and connecting the corridor to the Lebanon Municipal Airport and Music City Star, among others.
Committee members described the corridor as a disjointed and isolated blank slate but said it could turn into quality, developed land with proper planning. The group highlighted the need for the corridor to have features that attract people to the area, but also invites them to other areas of Lebanon, as well.
Lee Jones, urban designer with Common Ground, said the success of the area would be measured by the economy it creates and sustains.
You want to build – whether it’s commercial, mixed-use or whatever the community wants – and you hope the end product is economic vitality,” Jones said.
Multiple opportunities for the public and key stakeholders to provide input and feedback throughout the process will be available, including in-person interviews, a steering committee with multiple meetings, a visioning four-day workshop and two community open houses.
McCluskey said he believes Lebanon has unique features, and the finished plan should highlight the unique qualities.
“This work has to be a compelling vision. It has to be a compelling plan that people want to take and work with it. It has to be a call to action, otherwise it’s just a document that gets thrown in the file and is of no value whatsoever. I think the mayor wants us to spend the money on this activity to create something that produces a product that makes Lebanon better than it is today,” McCluskey said.