The Heart of Gallatin Neighborhood Initiative

Gallatin, TN's central city neighborhoods need improvement.

Run-down, falling-down, and neglected properties affect the city's image and quality of life.

The Heart of Gallatin Neighborhood Initiative will assist homeowners in the historic and architecturally significant Central City in making their neighborhoods safe, green and attractive -- thus, helping preserve property values and neighborhood integrity.


When Katie met Crossville -- New Yorker Paints Mural Project in City Square

The Crossville Arts Council brought New York artist Katie Yamasaki to Cumberland County in 2008 to paint a 73-feet long by 19-feet high mural on a Fifth St. brick wall donated by attorney Jane Powers.

Katie’s introduction to the community was launched at three introductory occasions, a Crossville Depot “Meet the Artist” event, a Palace Theatre soirĂ©e, and a Friday evening “Drinks on the Terrace” at Tonya Hinch’s place on Fifth St.

Donations of time, talent, and treasure from the community began to flow immediately for the project, and Katie quickly became part of the downtown 'scene,' chatting amiably and making friends, proving that the cultural distance between uptown New York and a Tennessee downtown public square is not as vast as one might imagine.

The mural is pictured below.

Downtown Crossville Mural

Downtown Crossville Mural
Dressing Up Downtown

Neighborhoods in Decline: When Government Won't Do Its Job

The situation in Atlanta, GA
A Cautionary Tale

Which came first, the illegal immigrants or the crummy neighborhoods where they often live?

That's the politically incorrect question local leaders are asking themselves these days as many older residential areas in suburban Atlanta deteriorate precipitously.

Some politicians have decided immigrant families are the reason for the decline.

They've got it wrong.

The slumlords came first.

If officials would target them and their properties, these neighborhoods could be revived.

Many of the slumlords got a foothold in the old neighborhoods because city and county leaders refused to do their job and prevent them from wringing the life out of the very housing stock that sustained their communities for decades.

These asleep-at-the-switch local leaders have been aided and abetted by members of the (Georgia) General Assembly. Doing the bidding for slumlords statewide, the Legislature refuses to allow local governments to enact and enforce tougher rental inspection laws.

Take a look at the way the neighborhoods deteriorated in the first place. Years ago — long before the influx of illegal immigrants began — renters began to replace owners. The flipping point for many neighborhoods tends to occur 30 to 40 years after they were developed and the original homeowners are gone.

Not all the landlords let their properties deteriorate, but many simply want the rental income and not the responsibility for maintaining the dwelling. They care even less about the neighborhoods, even though they often live nearby, on the other — more affluent — side of town.

There's this immutable fact of residential life in this country: Renters simply do not feel compelled to guard their landlord's investment the way owners care for their homes.

That, more than anything else, is what causes the friction in these declining neighborhoods. The remaining owners feel assaulted by the constant churning of renters — many of them indeed immigrants who are in the country illegally — and they want politicians to do something about it.

But even if all illegal immigrants were magically deported to their homelands, nothing much would change. The occupancy rates may decline somewhat, but the houses they leave would be as crappy as ever. Truth is, the slumlords love renting to illegal immigrants because they are less likely to complain about maintenance.

So local ordinances and proposals in the state Legislature to crack down on illegal immigrants renting houses in Georgia communities are shallow and misplaced.

Cherokee County, for instance, wants to make landlords check the immigration status of renters — an ordinance which would be ignored and impossible to enforce.

Instead, cities and counties should be taking aggressive steps to ensure the viability of these neighborhoods by stronger enforcement of local housing, public safety and quality-of-life ordinances. Cobb and Gwinnett counties — both home to thousands of illegal immigrants and confronted with dozens of deteriorating neighborhoods — have wisely adopted this approach.

Earlier this year, Cobb County created a Quality of Life Unit aimed at neighborhoods with junked cars, unkempt yards and vacant lots.

When police officers show up at the door with a warrant or a notice to fix something, landlords and tenants tend to take the problem more seriously, Cobb's Public Safety Director Mickey Lloyd says.

And while the code enforcement workers watch out for graffiti and run-down properties, the cops in the unit are more likely to spot signs that a house is being used for drug manufacturing or prostitution.

Gwinnett County has had a similar code enforcement unit in place for nearly two years, and it is beginning to show signs of success with cleaned up neighborhoods and fewer complaints.

Officials in both counties say the combined code enforcement and police units may be most successful at combating gang activity, which can flourish in a neighborhood where no one is paying attention to quality-of-life crimes.

Still, there is a need to create and enforce stricter rental ordinances — laws that would require landlords to prove they are maintaining their property before being allowed to rent it.

Unfortunately, the (Georgia) Legislature capitulated to slumlords in 2003 and passed a measure specifically forbidding local ordinances from doing just that. In each of the last two sessions, a bill to rescind that law has been introduced and has gotten nowhere.

The next time politicians promise to do something about all these illegal immigrant renters, ask them what they have done to stop the slumlords from ruining the neighborhoods in the first place.

--- 2007 article, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dangerous Buildings Defined in Gallatin Code

Sec. 5-241. Dangerous buildings defined.
(5) Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation, or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of those living within.
(9) Those those because of their condition are unsafe, unsanitary, or dangerous to the health, morals, safety, or general welfare of the people of this city.

City of Gallatin Code

Sec. 10-57. Stagnant water.
It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly allow any pool of stagnant water to accumulate and stand on his property without treating it so as to effectively prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
(Code 1979, § 8-807)
Sec. 10-58. Overgrown and dirty lots.
(a) Prohibition. Pursuant to the authority granted to municipalities under T.C.A. § 6-54-113, it is unlawful for any owner of record of real property to create, maintain or permit to be maintained on such property the growth of trees, vines, grass, underbrush and/or the accumulations of debris, trash, litter or garbage or any combination of the preceding elements so as to endanger the health, safety, or welfare of other citizens or to encourage the infestation of rats and other harmful animals.
Sec. 10-59. Certain other public nuisances defined and prohibited.
The allowing or permitting of debris, rubbish, trash, tin cans, bottles, and papers, or stagnant water to accumulate; or a dense growth of trees, vines, grass, and underbrush to develop on any lot, tract, or parcel of land within the corporate limits of the city to such an extent that it constitutes a menace to life, property, public health, or public welfare and/or creates a fire hazard is hereby specifically prohibited and declared to be a public nuisance and also a misdemeanor. Dense growth of grass shall be defined as grass which has reached a height of over one (1) foot.
(Code 1979, § 8-501; Ord. No. O9506-049, § 1, 7-1-95)

City of Gallatin

City of Gallatin
Development and Transportation Plan

Acceptable "signage" for a business?

Acceptable "signage" for a business?
Yes, according to the City of Gallatin