Letter: Seniors don’t want to lose ‘peaceful existence’

To the editor:

My name is Jean Miller, and I am a resident at Willow Manor. I am writing this as a self-appointed spokesperson for Willow and Hawthorne residents, who feel the same as I do regarding the new venue proposed to be built in our area, which would have an adverse effect on the peace and safety of our neighborhood.

Personally, I understand the need to boost the economy in Nashville. Having been a shop owner in another county, I realize the importance of steady customer flow. A few years ago I was employed at a local retail store in Nashville and I know firsthand the agony of a “slow day.” I acknowledge the reasoning behind the proposed plan to boost Nashville’s economy. My problem with the plan, as with other seniors, is the location. Apparently, this proposed site is the only one available. That’s unfortunate for the senior community.

The reason for this letter is not to try to convince the committee to change plans — I’m not that naive — but to better acquaint the committee and the rest of the community as to who we seniors are, where we’ve been, and why we are so concerned about change in the area in which we live.

What we are not is a group of addle-brained old folks who object to progress. Many of us are college grads who have worked as professionals most of our lives. Others have been successful farmers and raised families. Some are veterans. We come from all walks of life. The one thing we have in common, unfortunately, is old age. With advancing age comes a change of lifestyle. With our active years behind us, we seek a quieter, peaceful existence. We thought we had found that here in Nashville when we moved into Willow and Hawthorne, and we had no idea that peaceful existence would change.

In the past I have attended village council meetings, and more recently the meeting at Willow Manor regarding the construction of the new theater close by. In those meetings I have sensed apathy toward my fellow seniors. These folk must remember that one day they will be faced with old age, and perhaps then, and only then, they will understand where we are coming from.

Having had many professions in my lifetime, some of which include school teacher, copywriter, author, artist and shop owner, I find this attitude offensive. We are not old folks who sit all day on our balconies in a rocking chair holding a cat — although I do have a balcony and a cat, no rocking chair.

It has been stated that our lifestyle will be improved with more sidewalks and more roads. More roads mean more traffic, which is what we object to in the first place. Some of my friends have only one means of transportation: a wheelchair. I admire these brave folk who shop around the neighborhood using this method of transportation. Even at present, they are at risk. Can you imagine what that will be like once more road traffic occurs? At first, we were led to believe the added traffic would be only on weekends, but now we are told there will be events that could go on throughout the week.

I have not mentioned the problem of emergency vehicles that appear at all hours of the day and night going to senior residences, the nursing home, the medical center and the YMCA. Some of these calls are life-threatening situations.

A few months ago, I spent two weeks in rehab at the Brown County Health & Living Center after a knee replacement. The care was excellent and the caregivers kind and thoughtful. As I observed the residents there, my heart went out to them. Don’t they deserve some peace and quiet? The construction noise alone will be annoying. You can’t convince me that a busy street right outside a patient’s window won’t be noisy. If you observe other nursing homes and senior residential facilities in other cities, you will find, in most cases, they are located in a peaceful setting. There’s a reason for that. Don’t Brown County residents deserve the same?

The construction time on this multimillion-dollar project will be disrupting as well, and yes, you can hear construction noise outside Willow Manor. How can Hawthorne Drive be widened without taking out existing trees and sidewalks? Who will pay for the new police station if they tear down the old one?

In conclusion, this is not a letter to complain, but to give the committee and the public in general some insight as to the problems this project will create. For a moment, forget the color green and consider the effect this project will have on senior residents who will not benefit from this venture. Take a walk down the halls of the nursing home and observe the plight of the residents. If you can do this without feeling some compassion for your fellow man, then there needs to be some serious soul searching.

My philosophy is “if you believe in something, fight for it … even if you lose. If you don’t speak out, you’ve already lost the battle.”

Jean Miller, Brown County

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