Bartlett looks back at 2016’s milestones

In addition to the city’s 150th anniversary celebrations, Bartlett had many noteworthy milestones during 2016.

Alderman and Vice-Mayor Jack Young, when asked for comment on highlights of the year, touted the selection of a Bartlett High School graduate as Miss Tennessee, the school superintendent’s selection as the Tennessee Superintendent of the Year, the city’s recognition as one of the safest cities in the state, a year full of special sesquicentennial celebrations and solid leadership.

“We are led by an outstanding mayor, who has appointed excellent leaders within our various departments who, in turn, lead outstanding employees who provide high quality services to all our citizens,” he said. “When this happens as consistently as it does in Bartlett, the result is three school board members, and three Aldermen who are re-elected without opposition.”

He continued, “I absolutely believe 2016 has been good to Bartlett.  I pray that 2017 will treat us the same.”

Bartlett's year in Review

Here is a look at some of Bartlett’s 2016 highlights:

  • Olympus announced on Jan. 28 the future construction of a $12 million facility in Bartlett Corporate Park. It will be their new East Coast national service and distribution center with a projected 280 new jobs in Shelby County. It’s scheduled for completion by April this year.
  • Tim Francavilla was appointed to replace longtime Div. 1 Municipal Judge Freeman Marr, who died Dec. 17, 2015.
  • The Elpine Gray Estates planned residential development got approval for a first addition of 16 residential lots. Phase 5 of Brunswick Farms received approval for its subdivision contract. The site plan contract for the Olympus Service and Distribution Center received approval, as did the subdivision contract for Bartlett Villa. The site plan contract was approved for a new LA Fitness location that will be at 6050 Stage Road in the existing Antique Gallery location.
  • The city accepted a $16,755.31 grant from PetSmart Charities Inc. for the Bartlett Animal Shelter to assist with a major pet rescue project. The shelter was also renovated for more than $87,000.
  • The intersection of Memphis Arlington and Altruria Roads received a new traffic light.
  • The city board named the McCallum-Cooper House (3101 Sycamore View Road) as a historic landmark.
  • The Bartlett Parks Foundation Fund was formed, allowing the park board to collect money and accept donations to assist with park projects.
  • Bartlett’s city board approved a bid of nearly $933,000 for the Fletcher Creek Greenway Bike and Pedestrian Trail. This project was an 80/20 federal/ local match.
  • In a year of growth and challenges, the city also kept the ad valorem tax rate the same.
  • Renovations kicked off for Bartlett City Hall. The total base bid for the project was $437,000.
  • Bartlett honored one of its own, Grace Burgess, when she was named Miss Tennessee.
  • Alderman Emily Elliott began working on a multi-year project with a group of citizens and civic leaders to raise money for erecting a First Responders Monument in Bartlett. The project is estimated to cost $200,000.
  • Krispy Kreme came to Bartlett in September and started doing brisk business from its first day.
  • The City of Bartlett and the Bartlett City School district praised Superintendent David Stephens for his achievement in being named the state’s Superintendent of the Year.
  • The board also designated two additional historic landmarks: The Brunswick Rosenwald School at 4549 Brunswick Road, established in 1923, and Cedar Hall at 3712 Broadway Road, built in 1846.
    The board made multiple right-of-way purchases for the widening of Old Brownsville Road.
  • As part of its efforts to grow Bartlett’s retail presence, the board made its third-year payment of $24,000 in a contract with consulting firm Retail Strategies. The Birmingham-based company has charged the city a total of $94,000 to date for the multi-year project, designed to increase the city’s revenues without increasing property taxes, particularly to sustain and grow the Bartlett City Schools district. Bartlett Mayor A. Keith McDonald named Krispy Kreme, the L.A. Fitness that will be opening behind McDonalds, and Marco’s Pizza as some of the direct results of the work. Other ventures are in progress, but the city is currently bound by nondisclosure agreements and cannot discuss them at this stage.
  • A coup for the city was the mid-November announcement that Bartlett will be the home of a new Tennessee College of Applied Technology campus, thanks to $12 million in multiple grants and coordinated efforts. This college campus expands the city’s and school district’s current investment in the industry: Bartlett High School opened a new machine tool technology lab in 2016, thanks to $400,000 in funding from TCAT, the Tennessee Board of Regents and a state bill that recently passed.
  • The Bartlett school district also received a $315,000 transfer of funds from the city to buy 10 acres of soccer fields om Ferguson Road from Bartlett United Methodist Church.
  • The city board recognized the Bartlett Recreation Center’s program director, Paul Wright, for receiving the Tennessee Parks and Recreation 2016 Special Events Award. He operates the Small Fry Tri, a triathlon for children ages 2-6.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to