Amazon supports the construction of community space on the Nashville Interstate Highway


According to the Associated Press, Amazon supports the construction of a community space on Interstate 40 in Nashville as part of a state legislator and a group pushing the space to reunify the city.

Half a century ago, the former home of Tennessee Democrat Harold Love Jr.’s family was razed to the ground. After Interstate 40 divided the black community into homes and businesses, it is now on the highway The overpass stands there. Approximately 100 city blocks were demolished to build highways. Amazon A letter has been written to the federal government to support the creation of a new community space on the highway, turning the highway area below into a tunnel.

“If you were born here, all you see are wrought iron fences and barbed wire fences like this and noise from interstate highways, you would assume,’I’m not taken seriously’ because they put this here,” Xiao Luo Said the husband.

Amazon also promised to provide $75 million in low-interest loans for the construction of new affordable housing in Nashville. The mayor of Nashville, John Cooper (John Cooper) supported the community project at a cost of $120 million.

For more reports from the Associated Press, please see below.

Amazon is supporting the construction of community space on Interstate 40 in Nashville, Tennessee. In this photo, the Amazon logo appears on the facade of the company’s logistics center in Bretigny-sur-Orge near Paris on November 20, 2020.
Chestnut/Getty Images

When he stood near the place where his house was razed to the ground, Love Jr. raised his voice amid the noisy traffic from the interstate highway above. Love tells the story of his father’s struggle to change highway routes in the 1960s (before he was born), and he was convinced that this would kill and isolate the black community in Nashville.

His father is right.

Decades later, Love Jr. wanted to correct an old mistake.

Cooper supports the 3.4 acre (1.4 hectare) cap project. The city will spend months listening to ideas about what it should look like, recognizing that the community’s concerns about highways have been ignored in the past, and the city’s booming development has challenged the living capacity of long-term residents. Possible options include parks, community centers, amphitheaters, and some way to protect the historical background of the businesses that used to be along Jefferson Street (the once prosperous center of Black Nashville).

When the hum and heat of the highway enveloped the dead end where his home was once, Little Love, who was also the pastor of the nearby church, regretted the psychological damage caused by the destruction.

“But if you can change this model, talk about your value in this community, and try to recreate this value by putting this (cap) here, you might change the mindset of the kids who grow up here. “

In the struggle for civil rights in the South, Interstate 40 separated the commercial and music district on Jefferson Street from the city center in the distance, and separated one of the three historic black colleges nearby.

An estimated 1,400 North Nashville people have been displaced.

To this day, residents of North Nashville still keep in touch with the outside world, and only through highway underpasses and bridges can they reach facilities such as Vanderbilt University and two major hospitals. According to the U.S. Census, nearly 70% of blacks in the zip code covering North Nashville have a poverty rate that is more than twice that of the entire city, with blacks accounting for 27%.

president Joe BidenProposals for infrastructure have drawn attention to black communities across the country that make way for highways, including “New Orleans Black Main Street”, Clayburn Avenue (a highway was built above it in the 1960s), and Miami Overtown was once called the “Southern Harlem” neighborhood.

Andre Perry, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution, said the problem mainly started with housing discrimination, because the New Deal benefits were given to whites rather than blacks, leading to the exclusion of blacks in white suburbs, but highways were needed to reach urban employment centers.

“It happens so frequently, and in so many areas, because black people live in the city center,” Perry said.

The Nashville ceiling project has recently suffered setbacks due to the federal government’s rejection of the US$72 million in infrastructure funding application. But as the infrastructure debate continues, Cooper vowed to seek other financing options.

For decades, cities have been covering highways to create usable public spaces, including the $110 million Clyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas, which opened in 2012. Austin, Texas; St. Paul, Minnesota; and other cities are advancing proposals aimed at addressing racial inequality.

Before the opening of the interstate highway, Jefferson Street in Nashville was a corridor full of shops, barber shops, churches, restaurants, and nightclubs. Muddy Waters, James Brown, Etta James, Ray Charles, Little Richard, BB King and Jimi Hendrix played there. Historic black colleges such as Fisk University, Tennessee State University, and Mehari School of Medicine have breathed life into the area, and students from these campuses have dedicated their efforts to the city’s civil rights sit-in.

According to the Tennessee State Library and Archives, in 1955, with the formation of the Federal Interstate System Plan, a preliminary route was proposed that would eliminate some white-owned and operated businesses.

In 1967, after the route was changed to the current route, Harold Love Sr. and other residents filed a lawsuit alleging that racial discrimination was intended to harm North Nashville, its black businesses, and higher education institutions.The case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, Refused to hear it.

According to the State Library, approximately 128 businesses have been demolished or relocated, accounting for nearly 80% of African-American ownership in Nashville.

Love Sr. and his wife moved to nearby Scoville Street, one block from Jefferson for many years. The demolition plan surprised them.

“Our home is 2109 Scovel St., so I personally know that we have never received any advance notice of public hearings,” Love Sr. testified in 1967 that they were “close to the last to be notified” interstate route.

Faye DiMassimo, Cooper’s senior transportation consultant, said the idea of ​​restricting interstate highways emerged but never became popular due to the community’s distrust of the federal government.

This time, well-known community leaders, companies, and government officials sent letters of support to the federal government. Among them: Amazon plans to increase to 5,000 jobs in its new office in downtown Nashville; the State Department of Transportation, which will assist in design and construction; and some historically black universities.

“Nashville has maintained strong economic growth for more than a decade: social, environmental and infrastructure challenges have accompanied such success,” wrote Dr. James Hildres, Dean of Meharie School of Medicine. “The proposed I-40 ceiling is an important project in this regard and is an important step towards bringing shared prosperity to the historically marginalized public.”

Love Jr. still keeps a record of the fees the government paid for his house on Scovel Street to make way for the highway: $5,500 in 1966, which is equivalent to about $47,000 today. For families like him, who received similar checks to give up their houses, he believes that the ceiling project is proof of everything his father saw.

Little Love said: “I think my father is very clear that those who stay will be damaged, and those whose houses are occupied will definitely be damaged.” “I think this is the point we are trying to make. This interstate ceiling can help repair. many problems.”

Representative Harold Love Jr. of Tennessee
On Monday, July 19, 2021, Tennessee Rep. Harold Love Jr. gestured to an area he supported to expand a bridge, and on Monday, July 19, 2021, in Nashville North, Tennessee An I-40 interstate highway was expanded on the side.
John Amis/Associated Press Photo

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