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Local media panelists share views on relevant Brentwood issues

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Local media panelists share views on relevant Brentwood issues

Brentwood City Hall was packed on Sunday with community members and locally elected officials in attendance to hear panelists talk about Brentwood over the past 50 years. Panelists included longtime Tennessean award-winning journalist Jim East, Franklin Tomorrow Executive Director and former journalist Mindy Tate, Williamson Herald Publisher Derby Jones, Brentwood Communications Director Deanna Lambert, WAKM 950-AM host Tom Lawrence, cofounder of Brentwood Home Page Susan Leathers, Brentwood Home Page Editor Mark Cook and Tennessean reporter Elaina Sauber. . 

From a shortage of senior housing to what the future holds for the iconic Cal Turner property, the Brentwood Historic Commission hosted eight current and retired journalists, who are familiar with the city, to discuss topics relevant to Brentwood. 

The discussion was just one of the many the events scheduled in celebration of Brentwood’s 50th anniversary. 

Brentwood City Hall was packed on Sunday with community members and local elected officials in attendance to hear from the panelists that included Williamson Herald Publisher Derby Jones, WAKM 950-AM host Tom Lawrence, Franklin Tomorrow Executive Director and former journalist Mindy Tate, Brentwood Communications Director Deanna Lambert, cofounder of Brentwood Home Page Susan Leathers, Tennessean reporter Elaina Sauber, Brentwood Home Page Editor Mark Cook and longtime Tennessean award-winning journalist Jim East. 

WKRN News 2 Anchor Bob Mueller moderated the discussion with questions on such topics as traffic congestion, population growth and increasing home and property values. 

On the topic of rising home values, several panelists weighed in including local radio veteran Lawrence. 

“Brentwood is a wonderful place to live, but there’s a city election going on… these folks got to figure out what to do with the old folks,” Lawrence said. 

An aging population in Brentwood has left some unable to downsize to a smaller home and stay within the city, Lawrence explained. 

“If you’re 65, you deserve some consideration in being able to downsize and live in the community you love.”

Tate agreed that the aging population wants to stay in the community in which they live. 

“People want to age in a place where they know how to get to the grocery, where their church is, where their children and grandchildren are living,” Tate said. 

On another topic, Mueller asked the panelists’ opinion on whether the iconic Cal Turner property, just off of Franklin Road and Murray Lane, would ever be developed.

The property is one of the last undeveloped tracts of land within the city of Brentwood. 

“It’s too valuable to not be developed at some point. It may be 50 years from now,” East said. 

Tate said the land would be whatever Cal Turner chooses. 

“The people that held onto their property, some sold for subdivisions, but there were key parcels that people held into because they were important to them and their family,” Tate said. “It may not happen when Cal Turner is alive.” 

The panelists also discussed the appeal of Brentwood’s one-acre lots. Brentwood, known for its one home per acre residential zoning ordinance, has created pristine rolling hills, plenty of green space, scenic views and encompasses less density than can be found in other municipalities.  

Mueller also asked panelist what makes Brentwood a success and what marked a defining moment in Brentwood.

East discussed the “mall brawl,” which he covered as a reporter in the 1990s when Cool Springs Farm was on the verge of ultimately becoming a mall that would attract people from the region.

“People in Brentwood did not want the mall,” East said. 

However, the mall has brought much to the Williamson County economy and opened a gateway of visitors, passing through Brentwood, which is well, history East alluded. 

Modern Brentwood today, Jones said, draws families from all over for its schools, quality of life and beautiful neighborhoods.

“We were looking for a place to raise a family with a bigger yard, more space and great schools, so we packed things up from Nashville and moved here,” Jones said.

Panelists agreed that Brentwood’s one-acre lots make the city what it is today – an attractive city where people want to be, including country music icon Dolly Parton, according to Lawrence.  

“Why do you think a person by the name of Dolly lives at the same gated property as when she first moved here years ago?”

However, Lawrence reiterated that as the panel looks back upon the past, the next 50 years are also to be considered.

“Change is coming whether we want it to or not. [Brentwood’s direction] depends on the next generation,” he said. 

To learn about more events related to Brentwood 50th anniversary, see

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