RIP Facility at Ellington Agricultural Center Development

Later this year, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health’s RIP facility is slated to start construction. on the property of Ellington Agricultural Center in the quiet, vacant field off Darlington DriveThere will be a community meeting to talk with staff from the state to discuss the RIP program, see preliminary renderings of the RIP facility, and answer questions and receive feedback on the design and use of the RIP facility. The meeting will be a come-and-go type meeting where neighbors can attend when they’re able. Staff will be available the entire time.

May 17, 2018
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Crievewood United Methodist Church
Link to Facebook Event

I’ve heard a great number of concerns about the impact of the RIP facility on the neighborhood and the future of the Ellington Ag campus. As a Metro Councilman, I’ve been extremely limited in affecting a state facility being built on state-owned property. I’ve shared with the state as forcibly as I can the issues that I and others have about the RIP facility and harming the Ellington Ag campus. The Crieve Hall Neighborhood Association (CHNA) Board of Directors has been involved all along the way and informing neighbors about what’s going on. Below is information on the RIP facility, along with a timeline of the efforts over the last ten months to preserve what we’ve come to appreciate about the green space and quietness of the Ellington Ag campus.

Information on the RIP Facility

  • The RIP facility will be used by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as a Regional Intervention Program (RIP). A RIP is a parent-oriented, professionally supported program for young children under 6 and their families who are experiencing challenging behaviors. The children are always there under the supervision of their parents and the professionals. No one stays overnight and the program is only operational during the work week. It is in no way a half-way house. It serves about 25 families at a time, each family for 6-9 months, with around 100 families total in a year.
  • This is a facility that is being relocated from Green Hills. The current RIP is in a 50-year-old building at the corner of Belmont Boulevard and Woodmont Boulevard. They are wanting to relocate the RIP facility to somewhere that is still centrally located in the city, and this location specifically because it is the only state-owned property centrally located. They did not say whether they could purchase new property somewhere and put the RIP on it. The RIP facility is entering the design phase, which lasts about six months. They hope to break ground in late spring 2018.
  • They like to locate RIP facilities in a neighborhood-type environment. Of course, this is why I and many others are opposed to this location – it’s right in the middle of the Crieve Hall neighborhood without any similar buildings like it around it.
  • The proposed RIP facility will be one story, approximately 15,000 square feet, with around 50 parking spaces behind the building. It would have about 13-15 full-time staff and some part-time staff. The RIP facility will have to be relocated somewhere in Nashville. MNPD could still use the rest of the field for hay for the horses of the mounted patrol division.
  • The proposed RIP facility is on state property and doesn’t have to come to Metro for any approvals or notices. I did not receive any notice of additional buildings or services being offered on Ellington Ag’s campus. While the proposed RIP facility would only take up part of the field, there is nothing preventing the rest of the field from being developed by the state in the future, which is my fear.

Timeline of Events

  • July 2017 – Neighbors saw survey flags in Darlington Drive field and contacted Councilman Jeremy Elrod, who asked Sen. Steve Dickerson’s office to look into it. Sen. Dickerson’s office looked into and reported back that the state was building a RIP facility in the field. This was the first Councilman Elrod or anyone in the neighborhood heard about RIP facility.
  • September 15, 2017 – Councilman Jeremy Elrod sent a letter to state officials protesting the RIP facility and developing the Ellington Agricultural campus and expressing concern about other future development on the campus.
  • October 6, 2017 – Barry Coggins (President of the Crieve Hall Neighborhood Association), DJ Smith (lives on Darlington Drive), and Council Jeremy Elrod met with Sen. Steve Dickerson, staff from Speaker Harwell’s office, and several folks from the Department of General Services and the Department of Mental Health. We talked about our concerns and opposition to developing the field and the Ellington Agricultural campus, and we made clear we are not opposed to what the RIP program does. They talked about the RIP facility, what it does, and why they want to put it in the field on Darlington Drive. The state officials basically expressed that they can put it there because it’s their property. They also said they like it at the site because it’s in a quiet neighborhood, which is why the Crieve Hall neighborhood doesn’t want it there. We also discussed our worry about future growth and development of Ellington Ag campus.
  • October 23, 2017 – Councilman Jeremy Elrod posts an update on the RIP facility and starts “Keep Ellington Ag Green” petition.
  • October 24, 2017Channel 5 story on the RIP facility.
  • January 9, 2018Letter back from Tennessee Department Of General Services commissioner.
  • January CHNA Board Meeting – Decided to ask Department of Mental Health to speak for 3-5 minutes at the CHNA Annual meeting and for them to be available for people to talk to after the meeting. This would be a prelude to a full community meeting on just the RIP facility at a later date.
  • February 2018 CHNA Board Meeting – Discussed requests for helping to incorporate the RIP facility into the neighborhood as much as possible, along with the overall future development of the Ellington Agricultural campus.
  • February 22, 2018 CHNA Annual Meeting – Staff from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and the RIP program speak at the meeting and are available to speak after the meeting. The staff committed to meeting with neighborhood soon and to help integrate the RIP facility into the neighborhood.
  • March 16, 2018 – Councilman Jeremy Elrod sends a second letter to the state asking for design elements on RIP facility to help integrate it into the neighborhood, along with concerns about future uses of the Ellington Agricultural campus.
  • March 20, 2018 – Jeremy meets with the Tennessee Department of General Services Deputy Commissioner John Hull to discuss items in the letter, holding the community meeting, and future uses of Ellington Agricultural campus. Deputy Commissioner Hull expresses a willingness to meet with the neighborhood and listen to their concerns, but he informs Councilman Elrod that the state can build on their property. The state does not typically have community meetings when they build state buildings, and the state can build on their property with limited to no input from the community. Renderings of the RIP facility can be made public after the Tennessee State Building Commission meeting on April 12.
  • April 12, 2018 – Tennessee State Building Commission gives “Approval of the Early Design Phase” for the RIP facility. Changes and tweaks can still be made to the design and other aspects of the RIP facility. After this meeting, the Department of General Services can show renderings of the facility to the public.
  • April 2018 – Crieve Hall Neighborhood Association mails a letter to the entire neighborhood updating them on RIP facility and informing them about the upcoming community meeting.
  • May 17, 2018 – Community meeting on the RIP facility 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm, at Crievewood United Methodist Church.
  • Late Summer 2018 – Input process and discussion with the state on future uses and policies of the Ellington Agricultural campus
***The Crieve Hall Neighborhood Association Board of Directors meets every month. Every meeting of the Board is not reflected in the above timline. At every meet of the Board since August 2017, the RIP facility, its impact, and what to do has been discussed at great length.***

Letters on RIP Facility

Petition to Keep Ellington Agricultural Center

Keep Ellington Agricultural Center Green

  

Dear Legislator,

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