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The 2017 BDA Study Tour Delegation Takes On Nashville

October 10, 2017 - by Augusta DeVries

Category What's Happening

The 2017 BDA Study Tour Delegation Takes on Nashville 

Forty-five delegates returned this past Friday after two full days of touring Nashville’s downtown core. The BDA Study Tour is our annual opportunity to invite Bellevue stakeholders to step out of their normal rhythms and take in the sights, sounds and lessons from another region who is experiencing similar challenges and opportunities. Our staff and Board were grateful for another opportunity to unite a broad range of civic and business leaders in a new environment. The themes I observed from our array of speakers were: keeping up with rapid growth, the value of partnership and region-wide buy in the telling of the Music City story and developing the brand. 

These tours year after year give us unique perspective that takes us out of the day-to-day and offer us as a community the opportunity to ask: Who are we? And what will Downtown Bellevue become? The answers to these questions of identity didn't just fall into Nashville’s lap. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce put years into defining and refining their economic development strategy, Partnership 2020. The Nashville Downtown Partnership and Nashville Civic Design Center have asked the hard questions about what problems they were willing to solve; what kind of built environment they wanted to create and for whom and what purpose. The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation took a year and a half, with over 150 stakeholders to determine they were in fact Music City. And it wasn't a given; Nashville has more going on than just Music. It’s the national leader in healthcare services, with world class hospitals and universities and every genre has a stake in Nashville’s music scene.

The take away for me is the “all-in” nature of their brand promise and its evolution: “Music in Everything” is becoming “More than Music” and from the sounds of it – everyone’s on board. From hospitality to professional sports, to education and the arts, music is a part of the Nashville experience. And it’s not just country music. There is a unifying element to music and they’ve leveraged it. 

What will become Downtown Bellevue’s ‘Music’? 

I am excited for the continued conversations about Downtown Bellevue’s future course. We see the city core as the economic and cultural heart of the Eastside in an interconnected region. Our downtown residential population is growing; our retail is some of the best in the nation and businesses are expanding here. 

Downtown Bellevue has a lot to offer and how we develop our story - and how united we are in telling that story - will be crucial to our long-term vibrancy, viability and success as a destination for workers, families and tourists. 

Now it’s time to get back to work on developing that strategy and planning for our next study tour destination. Any suggestions? 

- Augusta DeVries
Director, Membership & Community Development
Bellevue Downtown Association Staff

Presentation Materials 

Who Attended? 

Thank you to all of the delegates who joined us on our 2017 Study Tour in Nashville. We appreciate your commitment to Bellevue's development and growth. 

List of Attendees


For those on the tour, the contact information for our gracious hosts and speakers can be found below. 

Honorable Freddie O’Connell 

Metro Council Member, City of Nashville
(615) 743-3090

Tom Turner

Chief Executive Officer, Nashville Downtown Partnership 
(615) 743-3090

Tamara Dickson

Vice President, Economic Development, Nashville Downtown Partnership (Walking Tour)
(615) 743-3090

Dirk Melton

Development Director, Market Street Enterprises (The Gulch)
(615) 846-4910

Gary Gaston

Chief Executive Officer, Nashville Civil Design Center
(615) 248-4280

Audra Ladd

Manager, Small Business/Creative Economy, City of Nashville
(615) 862-6027

Lori Becker

Editor-in-Chief, Nashville Business Journal
(615) 846-4271

Ralph J. Schulz

President & Chief Executive Officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
(615) 743-3012

Alex Hughes

Vice President of Talent Attraction & Retention, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
(615) 743-3040

Courtney Ross

Chief Economic Development Officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
(615) 743-3022

Kate Chinn

Senior Vice President of Growth, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
(615) 743-3069

Andrea Arnold

Sr. Vice President of Public Affairs, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
(625) 259-4715

Jen Cole 

Executive Director, Metro Arts Commission
(625) 862-6733