The 2016 Winners
(Photo: The East Nashvillian)
Business Award: The Basement East, Dave Brown & Mike Grimes
(Photo: The East Nashvillian)
Citizen Award: Bonnie Bogen
2016 is the 9th year of an annual award highlighting people and businesses who exemplify the best of all the positive aspects of life in East Nashville. There is one winner in each of two categories. The first is for a business or business owner that in 2016 portrayed the best of what East Nashville has to offer. The second award is for a private citizen who best symbolizes what being a good East Nashville neighbor means.
Winners receive a $200 prize and community recognition.
The 2016 Nominees
Only one person from each category can be named East Nashvillian of the Year, but all of these people and businesses deserve our respect and thanks for their commitment to our neighborhood. Please be sure to offer congratulations to any of these individuals you may see in the near future, they deserve it!
Citizen of the Year Nominees
Bonnie started the MOMS Club of East Nashville several years ago and has helped connect many moms in the neighborhood. Because of her, the East Nashville community became tighter and families from different backgrounds got to know and support each other. Bonnie is also a volunteer at her daughter's school and has a special needs child, but always makes herself available for others. She has been and continues to be a great member of our community.
Jim serves as the District 6 Metro Beautification and Environment Commissioner and has done an outstanding job in that role. Jim worked with local businesses to create a prize/specials package for those who participated in Mayor Megan Barry's Spring Cleaning initiative this year. Jim's outreach at neighborhood meetings and other avenues have helped to build record-setting participation levels in East Nashville.
Jim has also taken a leadership role in drawing attention to the lack of enforcement of Metro's existing tree replacement codes. His efforts have mobilized citizens across the county to advocate for protecting Nashville's tree canopy. Jim has brought this problem to the top of discussions about infill housing redevelopment alongside preservation of neighborhood character and affordable housing.
Mike is an artist and art teacher who grew up and still lives in Inglewood. Last school year when he was teaching at Maplewood High School he partnered with two local art galleries. The gallery owners spent time in his classroom and showed student work (No Skyline Nashville featured work about Nashville at GL in January and RAG brought in Pakistani artist Mahwish Chisty to make drone art in February). The kids were able to come to the galleries and feel comfortable and welcome, both brilliance on Mike's part. Mike also makes free art drops around East Nashville.
Ollie Gaston Jennings
Ollie is a favorite neighbor in Cleveland Park to sit on the front porch with and talk to. Ollie cared for her husband, Jim, around the clock as he had health issues for the last few years of his life until he passed away last year. She has a lifetime of stories including her years as a house mom for juvenile girls (going through the system). Ollie is always cheerfully working in her yard. Her smiling face and the many plants on her porch and in her house make the whole block a better place.
In his role as President of the Inglewood Neighborhood Association, Rod has been instrumental in donating thousands of dollars into the East Nashville community, including projects at all Inglewood public schools, the Inglewood library, Margaret Maddox YMCA, the East Nashville Cooperative Ministry, and Give Me 10 (among others). Under Rod's leadership, the INA's monthly meetings feature speakers regarding a wide variety of community interests and facilitate community discussions on such crucial neighborhood topics as conservation overlays, zoning changes, and new development (including inviting area developers to engage in the discussion). In 2015, Rod was instrumental in creating the "Paul Blankenship Award for Community Involvement," which was awarded to Tony Viglietti.
In addition to all of the above, Rod is a long-standing resident of Inglewood with deep ties to the community. When dealing with neighborhood issues, Rod sets a tone of respectful dialogue between neighbors. He's a great person who devotes much of his time and energy into making East Nashville a better place to live.
Business of the Year Nominees
C615 (Christian Paro)
Christian's efforts at revitalizing Main Street are well known from the buildings of Center 615 and Main Street Gallery. His team is now revitalizing the Maplewood area of East Nashville with Studio 615 on Broadmoor featuring some exciting environmentally friendly housing collaborations stretching from Broadmoor to Hart Lane. In addition to hosting countless charity benefits and fostering small local businesses, Christian is bringing innovative infill housing that respects and enhances the surrounding neighborhoods while making creative use of topographical and other features.
Fond Object (Jem Cohen)
Jem offered a local art gallery refuge when they had to move out of their previous space. He continues to engage the community and host shows even as his landlord tears down the buildings around him. He's keeping the front room as a gallery space that will be curated by Tara Walters of Red Arrow Gallery. His commitment to arts and music in the neighborhood is inspiring.
River Queen Voyages (Annie Klaver)
Annie worked very hard to create the first kayaking on the Cumberland business. She is inclusive and collaborative with other businesses and the local government. River Queen Voyages provides a great way for Nashvillians to stay active and has helped change the perception of how people think about the Cumberland River.
The Basement East (Mike Grimes and David Brown)
This venue has been a popular place for concerts, tributes and benefit shows. It's the largest venue on this side of the river. The deck outside and opening of The Beast Pub are welcome additions to the venue and the sound in the venue is state of the art. They provide music in all genres - Punk, Bluegrass, Rock, Country, Alternative, Americana, Hip-Hop, Blues and Metal Shows.
PAST BENEFITS SHOWS INCLUDE:
Stop The Slavery - Sex trafficking in Cambodia
Little Harpeth's Brewing for the Listen Local for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Geauz Music Row – Campaign to aid those affected by the Louisiana floods
Louisiana Louisiana – A Flood Benefit
Turnip Truck (John Dyke)
Turnip Truck founder and owner John Dyke calls East Nashville home -- both as a resident and businessperson. After bringing the community its first natural foods grocery store in 2001, John opened the new Turnip Truck East in late 2015. This year, he has developed the store he long envisioned, supporting local producers and rolling out a juice bar, full-service meat department, natural foods bakery and hot and cold food bars. John has also supported numerous community causes - from sewing training for refugees to finding home for local rescue dogs. John Dyke believes deeply in East Nashville and is committed to nurturing this community he loves for years to come.