Collaborative Action for Quality Growth

Cumberland Region Tomorrow brings people together to address regional challenges and opportunities we face with the future growth and development of Middle Tennessee. Our mission is to foster communication, collaboration and action as we help plan for the long-term livability, economic vitality and sustainability of this place we call home.

CRT is a collaborative regional partnership that works at the local, regional, state and national levels to:

• Convene regional leadership on shared issues of regional importance

• Address our regional issue of land use and Quality Growth through CRT’s Quality Growth tools, resources, and services

• Create Tennessee’s first Sustainable Communities Network through our regional, state, and national partnerships

Learn More.

Featured Stories

Applications now being accepted for Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops

(Photo courtesy of Smart Growth America)                                     Participants break into small groups to discuss local development issues at a past workshop.

(Photo courtesy of Smart Growth America)
Participants break into small groups to discuss local development issues at a past workshop.

Is your city interested in smart growth, but not sure how to make it happen? Bring in the development experts with one of Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops.

Each year Smart Growth America offers a limited number of free workshops to help local leaders and residents make their communities more livable, sustainable, and vibrant. Now in its fourth year, this program helps communities find solutions to local development issues, so that participating communities are able to grow in ways that benefit residents and businesses while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. Over 50 communities have already received Smart Growth America’s assistance through this program.

Applications are now being accepted for our 2015 workshop series. Communities can apply for one of 12 workshop types as part of the free program, including:

Any unit or subdivision of local government, Indian tribe, or regional government is eligible to apply for these free workshops. Communities may apply for more than one workshop, but must submit separate applications for each. Applications are due by Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 5:00 PM EDT.

Memphis was selected as one of the 18 communities to participate in the free technical assistance program in 2014. In order to help implement the new Complete Streets policy which was passed by the City of Memphis in 2013, workshops were held to provide the City with tools to communicate and address design elements of the new Complete Streets policy. Click here for more information on Memphis’ use of Smart Growth technical assistance.

Chattanooga has also been successful in utilizing national smart growth resources. In 2013, Chattanooga was one of 43 communities nationwide to receive technical assitance through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communties Program. With a large baby boomer population, Chattanooga chose to focus technical assistance on creating great places and supportive neighborhood design for people wanting to age in place. Co-applicants and partners on the effort, including the Department of Neighborhood Services and Community Development, Choose Chattanooga and the Southeast Tennesse Area Agency on Aging and Disability, viewed the program as an opportunity for Chattanooga to evaluate and assess current neighborhoods in order to help plan for and address the needs of an aging population. Click here for more information on Chattanooga’s use of smart growth assistance.

Cumberland Region Tomorrow is proud to be Tennessee’s leading non-profit quality growth partner and member of Smart Growth America, a national coalition of leaders and nonprofits supporting Smart Growth practices in American communities. CRT and SGA’s ten-year partnership has yielded many opportunities and benefits for both organizations, bringing nationally recognized expertise and resources to our communities, region, and state.

With CRT Executive Director Dr. Bridget Jones serving on the Board, Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring quality growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks so people can walk to their town center to ensuring that more homes are built near public transit or productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure that people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. Smart Growth America counts CRT as a leading local partner, and our partnership has been an invaluable source of resources at every level of CRT’s work.

TDOT Announces Two Grant Opportunities for Tennessee Communities

Clarksville, TN Mayor Kim McMillan accepts a Multimodal Access Grant from TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.

Clarksville, TN Mayor Kim McMillan accepts a Multimodal Access Grant from TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is pleased to announce two grant opportunities designed to assist local communities with transportation projects and planning. This is the second grant cycle for the Multimodal Access Grants, and the first year for the Community Transportation Planning Grants.

The Multimodal Access Grant program supports the safety and transportation needs of transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists through infrastructure projects that address existing gaps along the state highway network.

Examples of projects eligible under the Multimodal Grant Program include sidewalks and pedestrian crossing improvements, bus shelters, park and ride facilities, and bicycle lanes. Multimodal Access projects will be funded 95% by TDOT, with 5% funded with local matching funds. Total project costs are not to exceed $1 million.

Project requests for funding must be submitted to TDOT through Rural and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (RPOs/MPOs). Applications must be received by TDOT no later than December 10, 2014.

The new Community Transportation Planning Grant program is being administered through TDOT’s Long Range Planning Division to assist smaller municipalities with transportation planning services. The program aims to help these communities develop local transportation plans that support the statewide transportation system. Planning activities eligible for the grants include corridor studies, complete street plans, local road concepts, transportation ordinances, pedestrian and bicycle master plans, road diet analysis, and transportation systems management and operations. The maximum grant for planning services shall not exceed $250,000 and will require a local 10% match.

Grant applications must be submitted through each municipal jurisdiction’s Regional Planning Organization. Applications must be submitted by the RPOs to TDOT no later than December 10, 2014.

CRT is pleased to share the great news about both TDOT funding programs that support local community planning, design and funding for project implementation. Both of these programs are unique to our DOT and show TDOT’s commitment to local community and economic development priorities. Check out TDOT Deputy Commissioner Tok Omishakin’s presentation at the 2014 POWER OF TEN Regional Summit and hear more about the announcement of the Community Planning Grant program and all of the other TDOT funding for local community projects.

Transit needs and opportunities for our growing Middle Tennessee Region

On September 3rd, News Channel 5 ran a story entitled “New Commuter Train Possible Between Nashville, Clarksville”, which discussed the possibility of transportation improvements in the Northwest area of Middle Tennessee. CRT was glad to be a part of this coverage along with Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan. Check out the story in the clip below:

The key points of the story were:

  • Our ten county region’s economic growth is desired and continuing
  • An increase from 1.8 to 3 Million people living in the region is predicted by 2035
  • Our current and future population and mobility patterns increase congestion
  • Future commuter rail transit services from Nashville through Ashland City to Clarksville can provide transportation options for workers and residents and reduce congestion in that portion of our region

As reported, our ten county region’s population will reach 3 Million by 2035 as projected in the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2035 Nashville Area Regional Transportation Plan. CRT was glad to share information on our ten counties’ commuter statistics and congestion for this story. Check out the Regional Issue of Transportation/Transit on our website for more specifics and details. CRT research taken from 2010 Census data shows that 62% of our region’s workforce lives in one county and works in another. The table below is a breakdown on each county’s commute numbers from 2010 data.


From this research and data, it is easy to see how highly connected our Middle Tennessee Region is with our workforce from neighboring counties traveling back and forth every day. This intense inter-regional travel combined with intra-regional freight and through traffic on Middle Tennessee’s three interstates compounds congestion further.

Mayor McMillan’s remarks on the potential heavy rail service from Nashville to Clarksville illustrated the promise of regional rail transit service to that rapidly growing part of our region. She also highlighted the importance of the upcoming 2040 Regional Transportation Plan from the Nashville MPO to put in place the mechanism for this future regional transit infrastructure investment.

Regional leaders across Middle Tennessee, including CRT, recognize the need to provide a variety of transportation and transit options to address workforce mobility needs and traffic congestion. A complete Multimodal transportation system is vital to a region’s economic and environmental health and functioning. We all want to support our growing economy and enhance our quality of life for all of us that make up our region’s growing workforce and population. Strategic transportation and transit infrastructure investments, along with strategically working to create a regional jobs/housing balance that supports a range of housing options and choices near job centers is critical to Middle Tennessee’s continuing success. When we have a good spatial match between job centers, housing and transportation choice, skills needed, and workforce accessibility, our region can change commuter patterns and options, decrease congestion, and increase Middle Tennessee’s desirability for many years to come.


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