The biggest story out of Nolensville the last few years has been one of development and growth. And for Mayor Jimmy Alexander, 2016 was no different.
In fact, when running down what he saw as the city’s foremost accomplishments over the past year, Alexander rattled off one new development after the other.
At the top of the list was Market Square, a 277,000 square foot, $90 million mix of commercial and residential space that was approved in November by the Nolensville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
“We worked on it for about six months and finally got it like we wanted it,” Alexander said. “It will have commercial on the bottom floors of these new buildings, and on the upper floors there will be condominiums. It will be quite a great development for our town.”
Market Square — described on its website as “a central location where town folk can work, shop, relax, play and live” — will be located just behind Town Hall and is meant to act as the city’s “new downtown.”
Alexander also mentioned a development in the works at the intersection of Nolensville Road and Burkitt Road. This mixed-use space will be called Burkitt Commons and will rest right on the Nashville/Nolensville line. The plan is for the residential part of the $60-million project to be in Davidson County and the retail part in Williamson County, Alexander said.
“We’re excited about having ‘em within our town,” the mayor said. “That helps us with our revenue.”
As far as residential development within Nolensville, Mayor Alexander brought up the plethora of new subdivisions under construction.
“As of now I think we have four large subdivisions that are in the beginning stage of development,” Alexander said. “Like the Scales property on Clovercroft. There’s about three new developments on Rocky Ford Road that are in the beginning stages, so we look forward to a good year in 2017 also.”
For Alexander, perhaps the most satisfying new additions to Nolensville during the past year are the city’s three new schools: Mill Creek Elementary School, Mill Creek Middle School and Nolensville High School.
“It’s not every year that you get three new schools in your town,” Alexander said. “That’s an indicator of how we’ve grown over the past decade. It means that a lot of people wanna come out here, a lot of people want to live here.”
The mayor especially enjoyed catching a night game at the new high school football stadium.
“To have Friday night lights in Nolensville at the new high school with a first-class football stadium, with the home side of the stadium just packed with people, that was so exciting,” Alexander said.
Of course, development brings challenges as well as rewards. The rapid and extensive growth Nolensville is experiencing puts stresses on preexisting infrastructure, especially roads.
With that in mind, Mayor Alexander cited several transportation-related projects that either made progress or were planned in 2016.
A big one concerns continued work on Sunset Road.
There’ll be an improvement from Nolensville Road all the way to Brentwood when the project is complete, Alexander said. He added that the project should be “much further along this time next year.”
The city confronted long-term questions about traffic congestion and how it will be affected by growth this past year when it drew up the Nolensville Major Thoroughfare Plan. The plan studied current conditions in Nolensville and used that and other information to project what the city’s infrastructure needs would be in 2040.
Those needs are described in the plan as comprising “24 roadway projects that consist of reconstruction and widening of existing routes, re-alignments, and new roads that provide connectivity and offer congestion relief to the existing network.”
Mayor Alexander said that the city has been “trying to adhere to that [plan] with all of our new developments.”
The city has also made progress in laying the groundwork for a proposed bypass around Nolensville’s historic district. Alexander said the city “this year has gained quite a bit of right of way for that.”
Alexander sees this project as especially important because of the particular problems the historic district poses for future road widening efforts on Nolensville Road.
“The old structures were built very close to the road,” he said. “It would be very difficult to widen the roads. That creates the necessity for the bypass. We’d rather have the bypass than having to take down the buildings or move the road right up to the doorsteps of some of the buildings.”
There is currently no timeline for completion of the bypass project, Alexander said, but he hopes that the city’s success in getting right of way for it will help its chances in the not so distant future.
“If we can tell them at some point that we have the right of way then that makes it much more of a desirable project and less expensive for TDOT,” he said.
The year also saw municipal elections in Nolensville. The results – two aldermen were re-elected after running unopposed – proved heartening to the mayor.
“It either means we’re doing something very right, or nobody wants the job, I don’t know,” he said, laughing.
Overall, Mayor Alexander was overwhelmingly optimistic about both Nolensville’s recent history and its future. He acknowledged that housing prices had gone up quite a bit in the city, but pointed out that people kept buying them. He saw no reason to think that Nolensville’s renaissance would stop anytime soon.
“I hope you can detect form my voice that we’re excited about this town, and we’re very proud of it, and I think we have a bright future,” he said.
Landon Woodroof covers Brentwood and Nolensville for the Home Pages. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.