Insightful story by @nashvillescene reporter Steven Hale. Thinking back on a high school church lock-in where we drove downtown, parked head-in on Second Avenue to eat at the Spaghetti Factory then crept through an otherwise shuttered Downtown to sit in the gallery and watch night court, it still boggles my mind that Downtown and Lower Broad have become a destination for ANYONE, much less large groups looking for NOLA-level public revelry. The real eye-opener for me was last summer when I learned that a bachelorette group from our corporate headquarters in LA was coming mothership corporate mothership in Los Angeles was coming to Nashville. I remember thinking “y’all are coming HERE?” (yes, in a Gomer Pyle accent). And they had a big ol’ time. And they saw enough of Nashville that making a trip to the Nashville offices is not, to my knowledge, a dreaded forced march to the hinterlands. Net-net for me is simple: Nashville always teetered on the sharp point between civic pride in people wanting to come here and collective embarrassment about the people come and what they do when they get here. We should just relax, welcome the out-of-towners, and tell them about our favorite places. Oh and love them for the millions in tax revenue they leave behind. Because I can assure you that all the big city toys that we want, like public transportation and parks and actual sidewalks won’t get paid for by tax increases and bond issues we joyfully voted for and supported.

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