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In what ways do you want to see the city change/what changes are you most excited for?

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It's kind of a broad question. I see lots of threads here about development and what not, and I guess being new to the forum and not even having moved to Nashville quite yet, I don't have a clear picture of the city and where it's been/where it's headed. 

 

In what ways is this city changing? Are there changes you are excited about? Any that you're unhappy with? Like I said, it's a pretty broad question, so these "changes" can be of any sort related to "city life". 

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Great question. My big complaint is the mass transit options in Nashville. We are decades behind other cities Nashville's size. This is going to have to be addressed soon to keep the core competitive with Franklin and Brentwood.

I wish we had a couple of 700 plus feet buildings but I can’t complain about what we have now. We have a lot of mass between DT and Midtown.

I am excited about the Buckingham project and the NW Mutual project and hope they both start soon.

I hope SoBro really has a lot to offer as far as retail in the near future too. There is so much potential there and few cities have what Nashville has and that is a lot of land that can be developed around the core such as North Capital, East Bank and SoBro.

SoBro has dramatically changed in the last 10 years or so. The only thing that was there before 2000 was the Bridgestone and that was completed in 1995. So much has happened there since then and all for the better.

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Moreso than "change", I'm excited to see the city "grow". I'm looking forward to many more residents within the urban core and surrounding areas. I'm looking forward to several more distinct neighborhoods within the city. I'm looking forward to a better transit system, more community supported retail/commerce, more urban park space, and more foot traffic on the streets.

As far as "change" goes, there is very little. I would change our street plan. I wish the center turn lane would be replaced by medians. Allow u-turns and reduce curb cuts. This is the biggest thing I would change.

Most importantly, I'm looking forward to being a Nashville resident again. Someday. Someday.

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Loaded questions. It will take an essay to answer them for me. Suffice it to say, you will learn quickly when you arrive here what is lacking (as Ron said, mass transit) and what to be excited over (Buckingham, West End Summit, 12th & Laurel, etc).

 

Nashville is a great city. 10-12 years ago, I was hellbent on getting out. Now, it seems hard to consider anywhere else. Every time I want to experience something different, something changes here.

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In what ways is this city changing?

Many ways. Some good, some not so good. The core city (downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods) is seeing sort of an urban renaissance with tons of multi-family infill developments, from very small scale to quite large. Some large scale projects have the potential to completely transform the area -- notably the new Music City Center/Omni Hotel/Country Music HoF expansion. Along with that, there is the completion of Korean Veterans Blvd, which gives a major thoroughfare connection from East Nashville to downtown and specifically to SoBro. While downtown is seeing some modest changes and proposals, most activity is and will continue to occur in the adjacent areas, specifically SoBro, The Gulch, and Midtown. There continue to be many smaller urban projects scattered around East Nashville, Germantown/Salemtown, West End, Belmont/12th South, and now Melrose/8th South. Aside from urban construction, there are efforts to increase our green space, especially in flood prone areas near the river and along creeks and streams. With the green space, more greenways are in the works, as well as more bike lanes on streets.

But through the changes, the city experiences growing pains, too. For one, increased traffic. Traffic is a problem both in the city and in the suburbs. While we certainly don't have "big city" traffic, it still is an issue that needs to be addressed. And while there is more focus than ever (or at least since the freeway age) on building up our urban core, our suburbs continue to grow and some continue to spread outward. Also with this growth, many neighborhoods are in transition. Some are on the up and up, some are on the down and out. A lot somewhere in the middle. The demographics of the city continue to change as well (to which people seem to have a varying opinion of whether it is positive or negative).

 

 

Are there changes I am excited about?

Absolutely. I look forward to seeing Nashville's urban neighborhoods and enclaves continue to grow and eventually fuse together to form a cohesive urban core. We have a long way to go, but I anxiously await the day where it is hard to define the boundaries between downtown, SoBro, Rolling Mill Hill/Rutledge Hill, The Gulch, Midtown, West End, North Capitol, and Germantown.

As smeagols said, we're lacking in mass transit option -- but I do think that we will see a change in that, but when we will see the change is a good question. But I think as the core becomes more dense and more cohesive, you will see more urban mass transit options. The real question to me is how do we address the suburban/long commuter mass transit issues. Rail? Buses? What about mass transit between and within the suburbs? Franklin and Murfreesboro have small systems in place. How can we best organize a more seamless regional system?

Really, there's nothing specific I'm just overly excited about (unless somehow 505CST becomes a reality). I'm more excited with the potential this city has.

-As a city, we have an identity and a recognizable brand

-While we have made many crimes against urbanity and preservation in the past, we have a lot of potential prime development in our core area. We don't have to expand the core outward. We have a plethora of industrial brownfields, surface parking lots, and small and architecturally insignificant warehouses and one story businesses that can be cleared for new, urban, people-friendly development. It's not exactly a blank slate, but there is a lot of room for the city to grow up from within using infill rather than continuing to sprawl outward (though I'm sure we will continue to for some time).

-We have civic leadership that, at the very least, recognizes that certain changes must come if we are to continue to grow as a city. This can be seen through changes in the urban building code as well as proposals to address mass transit.

-We have a lot of positive energy with both the national press and with many rankings publications (especially in terms of economy). While being under the radar has it's benefits, having this sort of recognition helps expedite the moving and shaking to bring about some of these exciting changes.

-We are large enough where we do actually need to address a lot of factors with our growth, but not too large where they are overwhelming or impossible to fix. We have a great example to the southeast -- Atlanta -- as to some of the do's and don'ts for how to proceed in terms of development for a sun belt city. We don't want to be the next Atlanta, but there are some positive things we can learn from them as well. We are also following in the wake of other sun belt cities like Charlotte and Austin, and we can learn a thing or two from them. But we don't have to be *like* them.

 

 

 

Is there anything that I am unhappy with?

Oh, of course. Occasionally you get the feeling that this city takes two steps forward, then one step back (I'm talking both city and metro here). I mean this in terms of both development and politics. I'll leave it at that.

I think many would agree that while it is great to see the city do its due diligence and do surveys and studies and have committees and discussions, it would be a lot nicer if we would ACTUALLY GET SOMETHING STARTED. lol. I would like to see less talk and more do (at least within reason). Like I mentioned above, Nashville has a lot of positive energy surrounding it. There's no way to know how long that window will remain open, whether it be a few years or decades...but one thing we should do is absolutely take advantage of it.

I think our public schools are a potentially huge setback as a city. I do think the city is trying to change things. I'm not totally sure they're on the right track, though I don't think they're on the complete wrong track. Perception is a lot of it, and it will take a long time to recover from the negative image that they have. One positive is that our magnet schools are excellent. Really, top notch. But good magnet schools (that are particularly difficult to get into) aren't enough to solve the problem. The problem is that a great number of middle to upper middle class parents (who aren't looking for private schools) are choosing to live in the suburbs and their perceived (and many times, reality) better school districts. Having a healthy balance of young families of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds is very important for a lot of reasons. It's not an issue that is unique to us by any means, but I hope it does not become one that is a major stumbling block for us in terms of growing our city. It would be a shame to have younger urbanites move to the city only to have them have children and move to the suburbs because there is not a suitable environment for their children. That is something that must change.

I'm also not happy that open land in rural areas continues to fall to sprawly development, especially when there are plenty of areas adjacent to development that remain undeveloped. I am particularly disappointed that Davidson County continues to allow this type of new development, especially on the southeast fringes where traffic is terrible and the development practices continue to be an abomination. Windy, unimproved streets with no shoulders, no sidewalks, no streetlights supporting huge neighborhoods that dump all of their traffic out of one or two outlets. The connectivity of the streets on the southeast side of town is downright atrocious.

Edited by UTgrad09
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I am pleased to see the city embrace urban development downtown, in the Gulch, and West End. The blend of locally owned businesses and urbanites living in the core will only enhance what is already there. Like others, I wish Nashville had a few more towers, particularly over 700 feet. Disappointed Regions backed out. I am also looking forward to a major retail center downtown, something like Atlantic Station or Easton Town Center to give residents and visitors options other than driving to Green Hills. Retail has been lacking in this area for many years, everyone often mentions the mall that was built years ago downtown failing, and they are correct. The tenant mix was nothing unique and the design didn't complement the surrounding area. Nashville is ready for retail and SoBro will likely be the area due to the availability of the land and visibility. 

 

Things that I am disgusted over is the poor, and continual poor planning of Southeast Nashville and the decline of Antioch. From I-24, the mall and general area have great visibility and would be a real attribute had planners taken more time to promote aesthetics and research a good tenant mix. The area is always congested and ridden with crime. The sale of the mall for $1 million dollars nearly made me choke in laughter. Redeveloping the Hickory Hollow area should be at the top of the list. I'd also like to see the city invest in proper infrastructure, mass transit, etc. A limited access roadway is needed in the heavy growth areas between Smyrna, Nolensville, and Brentwood. Something such as Briley Parkway or Vietnam Veterans from Sam Ridley all the way to McEwen is necessary to alleviate traffic congestion (basically from Nissan Plant to Headquarters). 

 

I'd like to see the city focus on making Nashville bike and pedestrian friendly. It is unsettling to hear about all the preventable accidents that happen from week to week. It is even more unsettling the reaction of residents when an accident occurs as if it is the pedestrian or bicyclist's fault for being in the way. Nashville is way behind on retail options, mass transit, and walkability.

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More mass transit like MARTA in ATL. Taller buildings. More density. Less car traffic. More bars and restaurants and less churches! JK!

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Nashville is a great city with tons of potential.  Most of the changes I see in Nashville seem positive.  The areas immediately surrounding downtown (SoBro, Gulch, Midtown) seem to be growing in good ways and I think Nashville has a great future.  The economy is strong and diverse.  Nashville has a great identity as Music City that gives it an edge on its competitors and hopefully the Music City Center will bring more tourists/convention-goers to add dollars and pedestrians downtown.  I like a lot of the projects and proposals (505 CST is one of my favorite proposals in the entire country).  Nashville also has a nice climate with four seasons and a mild winter. Right now I think the biggest things in Nashville's way are:

 

(1) lack of public transportation:  Nashville seems a couple of steps behind its peer cities in this category.  BRT is needed at a minimum.  I'd like to see light rail, but that doesn't seem to be likely anytime soon.

 

(2) public education:  this is a problem in a lot of cities and I think Nashville is probably about average.  There is definite room for improvement.

 

(3) location:  Nashville has some nice geographic features (the river and nearby lakes) and pretty decent access to the midwest and the South, but I think Nashville's location hinders its growth a bit b/c educated professionals in the northeast and mid-atlantic feel it is a bit isolated since it is so far from the ocean and the major northeaster population centers.  I think competitor cities like Raleigh and Charlotte benefit from being more connected to the east coast.  Obviously the city can't change its location, but I would like to see it try to increase its connectivity.  AmTrak service to Chattanooga and Atlanta would be a fantastic start.

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I wish I could write a thorough treatise like UTgrad09, but all I can do is ramble.

 

The changes that excite me most are the apartments in the core, I'd like to see the population of DT more or less double pretty quickly, I think it can happen in 5 years.  The thing Nashville has probably done best is the zoning and urban design overlays, if you go to Chicago and look at all the high rise housing in the areas surrounding the Loop, we've avoided the obvious mistakes they've made (entire blocks of very tall high rises set back from the street with no retail or restaurant space on the ground floor, a severely wasted opportunity).  Under our codes, as buildings are built, the streets become lined with shops and restaurants.

 

I'd like to see the arterials 3-5 miles from downtown lined with apartments people like me could afford to live in, with good transit options and stores and restaurants.  It'll happen.

 

I'd like to see a reversal in the decentralization of employment.  This is the thing I'm least optimistic about.  Crap jobs like mine will be in the cheap suburban sprawl but they could be clustered so they are accessible to transit.

 

I see transit as a variety of problems requiring a variety of solutions.  Public transit should provide a fine-grid, 24 hour solution within about 3 miles of DT, fast and frequent service along the arteries (with park-and-rides further out), and some kind of connection between the major towns like the Boro and Clarksville. 

 

I'm suspicious of BRT or even light rail--subways are too expensive and slow to build, I'd far rather see elevated trains, monorails, or the cable drawn, elevated trams discussed in another thread here, at about 20' height along arteries, with platforms over the street supported by steel posts.  The lively views will attract riders.  Frequent transit is never going to work in the suburbs, all we can hope for is transit oriented development clustered at nodes along arterial roads.  The transit oriented suburb being built near Lebanon is one thing I've quite excited about.

 

Even though I dissed BRT, it's one of the changes I'm looking forward to, being better than nothing.  Regular buses suck for moving lots of people around, and people just don't like them.  You need comfortable seats, multiple entrances to the vehicle, a platform level with the floor, prepayment and very frequent service to get people to ride in numbers.  I rode the light rail system in Denver a couple of times and I hope we don't end up with a system like that (there is a ramp at the front for the lame and infirm, but climbing up to floor level along the length of the train is a knee-busting ordeal for a fat old man, and the system for paying is confusing).

 

A biking network that can be used by people other than daredevil athletes.  I would love to see pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout the core and outlying areas that are separate from car paths wherever possible (obviously the greenways are a great start at this).  A pedestrian bridge from SoBro to the Gulch would be a start. If people can bike to the end of their quiet little street, put the bike on a tram, and at the end of their ride, bike a short distance to their final destinations, women and timid persons will be willing to use bikes. Making it broader-based might also civilize the culture of biking, a lot of bicyclists are jerks.

 

I'd like to see the entire canyonized section of 40 (crossed by Division, Demonbreun, Broadway and Church) capped over.  This would cost a few tens of millions, some of which could probably come from private developers and some from the Feds, could be spread over many years, and would transform the area forever.  The resulting park space (with hopefully some retail/restaurant space in low, light buildings to tie the areas together (esp. along Demonbreun) would provide a pedestrian and bike connection useable by many. 

 

Don't care about tall buildings, but they add a nice visual touch and promote the city's brand.  Nashville is getting (to my surprise, I must admit) a lot of attention as a beautiful city and I think the DT skyline, esp. as seen from the East Bank, is largely responsible. 

 

The proposed changes for Centenniel park are exciting.  The park is already getting massive use, once the rehab is done you won't be able to find a patch of grass to sit on.

 

Speaking of the East Bank, I'd like to see any of the redevelopment plans suggested for the area go into effect, esp. the ones involving running a 90' canal upside the interstate and turning the stadium area into an island, with boatrides, fishing, etc.  Replacing the scrap-metal-"Welcome-to-Nashville" with a nice wetland park and a cool looking building or monument (like the Parthenon but not that since we already have one) is just common sense.

 

And I'm looking forward to SoBro's redevelopment, I bet 10-15 years from now the area is an amazing urban neighborhood.

 

I'd like to see some kind of really intense system for getting around DT (like the free green buses, but very frequent and covering all of DT) combined with massive structured parking so residents could get around the city center without difficulty, and visitors could get right off the interstate and park, then shuttle around without a steep learning curve or the risk of being lost.  This will become practical after a considerable DT population increase, maybe 10-15 years, but I'd like to see it planned for now. 

 

We need passenger rail, and eventually HSR, connecting Nashville to Chicago and Atlanta, with stops at metros along the way--Chattanooga, Louisville, Indianapolis...

 

Mostly I want a core city of safe, lively streets lined with interesting destinations and places for thousands of people to live, diverse in age, income and ethnicity (and not just a bunch of affluent white 20 somethings, nice as they may be (again, go to Denver to see what I mean)).  The odd small park here and there.  This city has a wonderful energy, it's fun and friendly and I hope we don't lose that as we grow.

 

Yikes, that ended up long, if you made it this far, thanks & I apologize for the length, I only had one beer.

 

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I wish I could write a thorough treatise like UTgrad09, but all I can do is ramble.

 

The changes that excite me most are the apartments in the core, I'd like to see the population of DT more or less double pretty quickly, I think it can happen in 5 years.  The thing Nashville has probably done best is the zoning and urban design overlays, if you go to Chicago and look at all the high rise housing in the areas surrounding the Loop, we've avoided the obvious mistakes they've made (entire blocks of very tall high rises set back from the street with no retail or restaurant space on the ground floor, a severely wasted opportunity).  Under our codes, as buildings are built, the streets become lined with shops and restaurants.

First of all, great response. I agree on a great deal of your points.

Depending on the "definition" of downtown, I think doubling in population is certainly a possibility. I think (obviously) most of the residential growth will be in the areas adjacent to downtown (SoBro, The Gulch, Germantown, Midtown, etc)...

visitmusiccity.com lists our downtown population at 6,320, up from 2,005 just 10 years ago (though it did not give the definition for downtown and the boundaries). I think with our current building boom, 12,000+ is not out of the realm of possibility for 2017. I would like to see around 15,000 by the next Census. We'll see.

I definitely think the urban overlays are one area to really credit our city's leadership in terms of recognizing the need for a more urban environment downtown. I don't think it's perfect, but it seems that this city is putting a lot more thought into planning and development than they have in the past, when it seemed like development was a free-for-all.

 

I'd like to see the arterials 3-5 miles from downtown lined with apartments people like me could afford to live in, with good transit options and stores and restaurants.  It'll happen.

 

I'd like to see a reversal in the decentralization of employment.  This is the thing I'm least optimistic about.  Crap jobs like mine will be in the cheap suburban sprawl but they could be clustered so they are accessible to transit.

 

Yes. I've thought the same thing. I think we are seeing the very beginning stages of it, but I would love to see our corridors lined with higher density, mixed use buildings. We need to preserve the neighborhoods that these corridors run through, but I think giving a nice little population boost to the corridors themselves will make mass transit along them more viable. The population boost would also help the neighborhood stores along these corridors thrive.

I see transit as a variety of problems requiring a variety of solutions.  Public transit should provide a fine-grid, 24 hour solution within about 3 miles of DT, fast and frequent service along the arteries (with park-and-rides further out), and some kind of connection between the major towns like the Boro and Clarksville. 

 

I'm suspicious of BRT or even light rail--subways are too expensive and slow to build, I'd far rather see elevated trains, monorails, or the cable drawn, elevated trams discussed in another thread here, at about 20' height along arteries, with platforms over the street supported by steel posts.  The lively views will attract riders.  Frequent transit is never going to work in the suburbs, all we can hope for is transit oriented development clustered at nodes along arterial roads.  The transit oriented suburb being built near Lebanon is one thing I've quite excited about.

 

Even though I dissed BRT, it's one of the changes I'm looking forward to, being better than nothing.  Regular buses suck for moving lots of people around, and people just don't like them.  You need comfortable seats, multiple entrances to the vehicle, a platform level with the floor, prepayment and very frequent service to get people to ride in numbers.  I rode the light rail system in Denver a couple of times and I hope we don't end up with a system like that (there is a ramp at the front for the lame and infirm, but climbing up to floor level along the length of the train is a knee-busting ordeal for a fat old man, and the system for paying is confusing).

 

I'm not as optimistic about the urban tramways, but I already discussed my problems with that in the other thread. I just don't see it happening.

I agree that BRT is not my favorite. It's not as sexy as rail (though it should be cheaper in the end)...but I think having SOMETHING in place that is superior to the regular everyday bus system will be a good thing. Something that can move people over greater distances, and faster.

I like the grid idea for public transit. One thing that I think is a problem with our current system is that so many of the lines run through the hub. That's great if you are going to the opposite side of town, but not so great if you are going from, say Melrose to Vandy. I would like to see more crosstown routes and mini-hubs/exchange points...though admittedly I'm not sure the best way to accomplish that.

A biking network that can be used by people other than daredevil athletes.  I would love to see pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout the core and outlying areas that are separate from car paths wherever possible (obviously the greenways are a great start at this).  A pedestrian bridge from SoBro to the Gulch would be a start. If people can bike to the end of their quiet little street, put the bike on a tram, and at the end of their ride, bike a short distance to their final destinations, women and timid persons will be willing to use bikes. Making it broader-based might also civilize the culture of biking, a lot of bicyclists are jerks.
 

I am encouraged to see Metro Parks has a nice master plan for adding more greenways and creating a more extensive network. I think that is something we are very behind on, though...so we need a lot of progress on our current plan, or by the time it is finished, it will be woefully inadequate as well. Utilizing the flood plains and river/stream paths is smart. But I think in some areas, especially areas where there are not so many streams nearby, there needs to be more done. Some of the smaller collectors could probably use bike lanes, and I would certainly like to see the major corridors get them, where possible.

I'd like to see the entire canyonized section of 40 (crossed by Division, Demonbreun, Broadway and Church) capped over.  This would cost a few tens of millions, some of which could probably come from private developers and some from the Feds, could be spread over many years, and would transform the area forever.  The resulting park space (with hopefully some retail/restaurant space in low, light buildings to tie the areas together (esp. along Demonbreun) would provide a pedestrian and bike connection useable by many. 

 

Don't care about tall buildings, but they add a nice visual touch and promote the city's brand.  Nashville is getting (to my surprise, I must admit) a lot of attention as a beautiful city and I think the DT skyline, esp. as seen from the East Bank, is largely responsible. 

I love the land bridge idea for the interstate. I think many of us do. I would like to see a re-working of the interstate through the canyon, with more streamlined exits (I do not like the current format with 4 separate on-off ramps). I think if a land bridge is built, a left lane exit from 65/40 on the south side would be smart. It would be safer and easier (no merging). Likewise at the end of the bridge.

I think that would help fuse Midtown and The Gulch together. The park space would be nice...but removing the psychological barrier of the interstate would make them feel more connected.

 

The proposed changes for Centenniel park are exciting.  The park is already getting massive use, once the rehab is done you won't be able to find a patch of grass to sit on.

 

Speaking of the East Bank, I'd like to see any of the redevelopment plans suggested for the area go into effect, esp. the ones involving running a 90' canal upside the interstate and turning the stadium area into an island, with boatrides, fishing, etc.  Replacing the scrap-metal-"Welcome-to-Nashville" with a nice wetland park and a cool looking building or monument (like the Parthenon but not that since we already have one) is just common sense.

 

I love the master plan for Centennial Park, and I certainly hope that comes to be. It's a beautiful park as it is...but as this city grows, we need to step up our game and provide an urban park that is more in line with the class and size of this city.

I think the canal idea is expensive and pie-in-the-sky, personally. It would be cool, yes. But the Cumberland River isn't all that attractive in itself. Building a 90' mud canal wouldn't do anything major to improve that, in my opinion.

I do think that eventually replacing the scrapyard, and converting most of the southern area of the East Bank to parkland/green space is a must. With what I was saying about Centennial Park -- and how I think we need to step up our game and have an urban park that is more representative of our class of city (and what it will become), that location would provide a great, fairly large urban park/strip that is much closer to downtown. It would also be nice to eventually connect that greenspace to Shelby Bottoms (which I think is the ultimate plan). It would completely transform the riverfront and give Nashville a radical new way of thinking of our river (you know, with the urban riverfront being kind of trashy and industrial as it is).

And I'm looking forward to SoBro's redevelopment, I bet 10-15 years from now the area is an amazing urban neighborhood.

 

I'd like to see some kind of really intense system for getting around DT (like the free green buses, but very frequent and covering all of DT) combined with massive structured parking so residents could get around the city center without difficulty, and visitors could get right off the interstate and park, then shuttle around without a steep learning curve or the risk of being lost.  This will become practical after a considerable DT population increase, maybe 10-15 years, but I'd like to see it planned for now. 

 

We need passenger rail, and eventually HSR, connecting Nashville to Chicago and Atlanta, with stops at metros along the way--Chattanooga, Louisville, Indianapolis...

 

Mostly I want a core city of safe, lively streets lined with interesting destinations and places for thousands of people to live, diverse in age, income and ethnicity (and not just a bunch of affluent white 20 somethings, nice as they may be (again, go to Denver to see what I mean)).  The odd small park here and there.  This city has a wonderful energy, it's fun and friendly and I hope we don't lose that as we grow.

 

Yikes, that ended up long, if you made it this far, thanks & I apologize for the length, I only had one beer.

Yes, yes, and more yes. Great post.

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