Photo: Chuck Allen

East Side Buzz, September 25

Good News, Bad News, Taxing News!

Be Seen in the Pages of The East Nashvillian!

The new issue of The East Nashvillian is now in the works. It’s our 10th anniversary and this special issue will be taking a look back at a decade of the best in music, arts, and culture done the East Side-way! To place your ad in our new issue, contact our sales team today at sales@theeasnashvillian.com.

And speaking of issues, our supply of our most recent is down to just a few copies, so if you see one in the wild you’d better grab it fast. Or you can place an order for any of the deluxe merch we’re now offering through our webstore and get one of the few remaining copies as a bonus.  Place your order today!

COVID-19 Updates — Bars and Restaurants Expand Capacity as Metrics Tick Upwards
At his Thursday morning press conference, Mayor John Cooper announced several details about the plan to move Nashville into Phase Three of the Roadmap for Reopening Nashville on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Under Phase Three, large events with an approved plan from the Metro Public Health Department may take place at 30% capacity with a maximum number of 500 people. Events without an approved plan must remain at a maximum capacity of 25. One of the first approved events will be the 95th anniversary of Grand Ole Opry on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Bars and restaurants may expand capacity to 50% capacity with a maximum number of 100 patrons/floor and an additional 100 in outside spaces, provided proper social distancing can be maintained. Table seating may increase from six to eight patrons, and all bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m. In addition, transportainment vehicles will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity or a maximum of 15 people.

However, the current guidelines under the modified Phase Two will remain in place: 75% capacity for retail stores and commercial businesses; 50% capacity for gyms, and for hair and nail salons.

At the current time, there are no plans to rescind Metro’s mask mandate. Dr. Alex Jahangir, Director of the Metro Coronavirus Response Taskforce, reemphasized that staying at home as much as possible, social distancing, and wearing a mask remain the best ways to combat the spread of the virus for now.

While several key metrics have improved others remain at a higher level than they were a few weeks ago. As of Thursday, the transmission rate was 1.04, indicating the spread of the virus is increasing compared to a few weeks ago. A total of 699 new cases were reported in the last week. To date, there have been a total of 28,392 cases of COVID-19 reported in Davidson County, with 267 total deaths. More information and updates on Metro’s response to the pandemic are available at asafenashville.org.

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East Nashville Street Renamed to Honor Fallen Davidson County Deputy
Summer Place, between South Fourth and Fifth Streets in the Cayce Homes neighborhood, was renamed Jerry Newson Way on Tuesday, Sept. 22. The name change was made to honor Davidson County Deputy Jerry Newson, Jr., who was killed in the line of duty 25 years ago.

Newson, a Tennessee State University graduate, worked for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office for seven years, beginning his service as a correctional officer. Newson was shot and killed on Sept. 22, 1995, while assisting another deputy with an eviction notice on Briggs Avenue. He was 33 years old.

In 2005, on the 10th anniversary of his death, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office Training Academy is now the Jerry Newson Center. The building has since been demolished to make room for the new Davidson County Sheriff’s Office headquarters, which is under construction at the new address, One Jerry Newson Way.

Family members from Nashville, Memphis, Clarksville, Alabama, Texas, and Indiana attended the official renaming ceremony on Tuesday along with DCSO employees and retirees. The ceremony began at 7:40 a.m., the approximate time of Newson’s death.

New Life for Historic Russell Street Church Building
The historic Russell Street Presbyterian Church building at 122 S. 11th St. received its reprieve from the wrecking ball this week. Local real estate developer Mark Sanders and his company, S&S Property Management, have acquired the property and work is already underway to save and restore the historic building which was severely damaged by the March 3 tornado.

Two weeks ago, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee announced plans to sell the property, stating that the Edwardian-era church building was “probably worth saving, but any effort to do so would be cost-prohibitive.” Many in the local community feared for the future of the historic East Nashville landmark. That’s when Sanders stepped forward to negotiate a deal for the property.

Sanders, an East Nashville resident since 1981, has a personal interest in saving the building since both his home and business offices are less than a block away from the property. He has also built a reputation for creative and neighborhood-friendly developments through such projects as Fatherland Court, Martin’s Corner, Shoppes on Fatherland, and more. (For more on Sanders, read “Raising the Bar” from our May-June 2016 issue.)

In an exclusive interview with The East Nashvillian, Sanders says he plans to repurpose the building as a multi-use structure with office spaces and/or apartments, and a restaurant in the main sanctuary space.  While preservation of the historic character of the building is a top priority, Sanders notes there is a lot of work to be done.

“It’s a mess,” Sanders says. “On the northeast wing, where the tornado hit, the whole roof collapsed and the steeple fell into the building. All of that portion will have to come down to the studs because water has been getting in behind the plaster and drywall. We’ll save all the doors and trim, but we’ll take everything else down to the studs and let it dry out. Then with the help of our architect and structural engineer, we’ll build it back.”

In addition to repairing the significant structural damage to that section of the building, Sanders says there will be several internal changes required to change from classrooms to apartments and offices. Fortunately, the challenges and changes planned for the main building and sanctuary are not as formidable.

“The sanctuary end of the building didn’t get hit as hard,” Sanders says. “Windows were blown out and the wind got one corner a bit, but most of the inside was spared.  We’ll bring it back close to where it was with the same trim and finishes.”

While work is still in the early stages, Sanders is wasting no time. “The contractor is already over there and they’re getting it lined it to get it gutted and stabilized,” Sanders says. “We’re already working. We’re going to do our best to restore it to the way it was.”

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Fat Bottom Returning to East Nashville
Local-craft brewer Fat Bottom is returning to East Nashville, at least partially, with a planned opening of a new taproom, according to a story published this week in Nashville Post. The new East Side outpost is planned for the basement of the former Eastside Church of Christ building at 2518 Gallatin Ave. and will join the 26-room boutique hotel and event space that the building is being converted to accommodate.

Founded by entrepreneur Ben Bredesen (son of former Nashville mayor and Tennessee Governor, Phil Bredesen), Fat Bottom Brewing opened its doors in 2012 in the Fluffo Mattress Building on Main Street. After five successful years, the company moved to a larger location in The Nations.

According to an unnamed source cited by Nashville Post, the taproom will test market various new Fat Bottom beers alongside beers from other local breweries, as well as provide a small menu. Brewing will be done on-site and the taproom will function independently from the primary Fat Bottom location.

No opening date has been announced. For more info and updates, follow Fat Bottom Brewing @FatBottomBrewing.

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Record Store Day Side 2 This Weekend
The usual April Record Store Day celebration/buy-o-thon not only got postponed by a worldwide pandemic but has multiplied into three events, with the second one upon us this weekend. One release that makes this RSD Drop extra special is a deluxe re-release of the sole album from East Nashville’s original all-female garage rockers, The Feminine Complex.

Formed in 1967 by five Maplewood High School students, The Feminine Complex quickly gained a following through writing and performing their own material, which combined girl-group harmonies and garage-punk bite, sprinkled with a touch of psychedelia. In 1968, they recorded the album, Livin’ Love, at Woodland Studios in East Nashville for the indie-label Athena Records, but by the time the record was released in 1969, the girls had parted ways.

The Feminine Complex remained an obscure footnote in Nashville’s musical history until their album was re-released on CD in 1996 by indie rock label Teen Beat. In a grand example of just how baked-in sexism and prejudices against Nashville were, some critics refused to believe the story behind the album, preferring to propagate a conspiracy theory that the recordings were a hoax being perpetrated by some then-current indie rock cabal.

Nashville-based boutique reissue label, Modern Harmonic, is releasing Livin’ Love on pink vinyl with an extra LP of demo recordings and rarities and liner notes by local drummer and social activist Tiffany Minton.  You can find it along with the rest of the September RSD Drop titles at fine East Side record retailers. Here’s a rundown of their shopping procedures, some of which have been modified from last month’s event.  Masks are required masks for all employees and shoppers at all four stores.

The Groove will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and is limiting the number of customers in the RSD shopping room to only five at a time; advance reservations for specific shopping times are required. For more info, visit them online at thegroovenashville.com; to make a reservation call The Groove at 615.227.5760.

Vinyl Tap will open its doors at 9 a.m. Only two customers at a time will be allowed inside at the RSD table. The sidewalk in front of the store will be marked off in six-foot increments for customers waiting to enter. The store will open for regular shopping starting at noon, along with the bar. For more info visit them online at vinyltapnashville.com.

Grimey’s New and Preloved Music will be closed to the public on Saturday morning and early afternoon. Orders for RSD releases may be placed online starting at noon on Saturday with curbside pickup available Saturday through Monday and during regular store hours throughout the week. At 3 p.m., the store will open for regular shopping. For more info, visit grimeys.com.

The Great Escape — Madison (and their main store on Charlotte Avenue) will be open to the public on Saturday, but with a limited number of customers allowed in the store at one time. The doors open at 10 a.m. at both Nashville locations. For more info, visit thegreatescapeonline.com.

Don’t Forget to Vote Early or Absentee!
A reminder that who have until October 5 to register to vote and early voting for the November 3 General Election begins on October 14 and will run through October 29. Two additional Early Voting locations have been added for this election — The East Nashville YMCA and Friendship Baptist Church in North Nashville. A complete list of early voting locations and hours is available from the Election Commission’s website.

You can also now request an absentee voting ballot for the November 3 General Election. Although the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision that allowed Tennesseans to vote absentee for any reason, there are still a wide variety of reasons Tennesseans may do so — including having an underlying medical condition that puts you at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or if you are the caretaker of someone with a disability or underlying medical condition.

For more information, a link to the CDC’s list of underlying medical conditions that place you at high risk, and to request an absentee ballot, visit the Davidson County Election Commission. Absentee ballots were mailed last week, so be sure to mail it in as early as possible to make sure your vote counts.

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Quick Bits

  • If you haven’t heard the word about Doll’s Family Cafe, you’re missing out on some of the finest soul food in Nashville including such hard-to-find delicacies as chitterlings and oxtails. Open for takeout and limited dine-in, Doll’s is tucked away at the side entrance of former Metro PCS building at 2501 Gallatin Ave. on McClurkan Avenue. For more info and daily menu updates, follow Doll’s Family Cafe on Facebook.
  • Congratulation to Sarah Gavigan who recently opened a new location of Otaku Ramen inside the new Sylvan Supply space at 4109 Charlotte Ave. in West Nashville. Open only for takeout and delivery, like the East Nashville location, Otaku Ramen West offers the same menu. For more info, visit com.
  • The East Nashville retail property home to AlphaGraphics Music City, Family Dollar, and Cash America recently sold for approximately $4.3 million. The one-story retail building at 836 and 838 Dickerson Pike was constructed in 1989.