- Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has launched an interactive data map, called NashView, that the public can use to see information about a number of government-provided services.
- The map provides in-depth information about what government activity is taking place in each neighborhood, such as tracking the progress of resident requests and building permits. Users also can see where government facilities — including fire stations, schools, parks and recycling centers — are located.
- The map is intended to complement hubNashville, Davidson County's portal for requesting services and tracking their progress. NashView should be integrated into Nashville's home page in the coming months.
NashView is a data visualization map that makes government more accessible to residents and businesses. It allows them to understand the government projects taking place in their own neighborhoods and throughout the city. In addition to providing residents a look at what their city government is up to, leaders were deliberate about making NashView easy for the average person to use.
Two of Mayor Barry's pet projects for Nashville are expanding the amount of affordable housing as well as expanding and improving transportation. But she also has been vocal about providing transparency, which she stressed last year in openly discussing her 22-year-old son's drug overdose death. She is likewise aiming for greater government transparency in projects such as NashView. “You shouldn’t have to be a Metro employee to gain insight into what is happening around our community," Barry said in a statement.
However, some view Barry's push for transparency as insincere right now, considering that she is under investigation for possibly misusing government funds after having admitted to an affair with her security chief, who has since resigned. The investigation centers on business trips where the bodyguard accompanied Barry, and whether his presence was necessary and an appropriate use of funds. Last week it came to light that he also charged hours of overtime on one of the business trips and it's currently unclear if he was legitimately working during the time in question. Investigators are trying to uncover the content of hundreds of deleted messages between the two to determine if they prove that criminal activity occurred.
Barry has again pointed to transparency in recent days, saying she will be forthcoming and provide investigators with everything they request. She said she has not broken any laws and will not step down. Her term is up next year. Many had considered Barry a rising star in Tennessee's Democratic party, and it remains to be seen how the investigation will further unfold or the ramifications it might have on Barry's career.
One area that potentially could be affected by scandal fallout is the $5.4 billion transportation project that Barry proposed last year. Nashville citizens head to the polls on May 1 to vote on a referendum for that plan. Supporters and opponents alike have been passionate in their arguments about the gigantic project. The proposal involves adding a light rail system, revamping the city's bus system and building a huge, $936 million tunnel below downtown where the transit lines would run to keep them off of congested city streets.