Bordeaux Hills: A Community on the Move

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Ruby Baker shows new flood marker placed at Bordeaux Gardens Park commemorating the historic flood Photo by Keena Day

By Keena Day

NASHVILLE, TN — As many communities are being broken apart due to gentrification and the bustling real estate market in Nashville, the Bordeaux Hills community, devastated by the historic floods seven years ago, continue to band together to revitalize and rebuild their community towards greatness.

The 2010 flood devastated 200 homes in the community. During the despair, a lot of people’s vulnerabilities were exposed such as the lack of adequate flooding insurance and financial preparedness. To add to that, some of the older homes in the Bordeaux Hills communities made what could be considered minor damage major.

Ruby D. Baker, President of the Bordeaux Homeowner’s Association since 2008, recalls the state of the community as they went through the historic floods.

“You see people and you only see them when they would go to the mailboxes and never have conversations with neighbors. This flood brought everybody out. What happened was because of this flood, people started building bonds and looking out for each other,” she reflects.

After the floods, she went door to door surveying damage and pulling in city resources such as We Are Home Housing Fund from MDHA, FEMA, Hands on Nashville, Metro Waste Management, and many others, and the community was able to begin the rebuilding process. Some people were out of their homes for six months. She found within her surveying that the sewage system was the culprit as the pressure from rising waters caused pipes to burst in homes.

In the aftermath, the people of Bordeaux had to deal with families having to relocate temporarily, contractors taking advantage of the people, people applying for funds to different agencies, dealing with post-traumatic stress of changing schools and gathering daily resources, and the adding expense of mortgage companies requiring flood insurance.

“The flood really leveled our neighborhood. People don’t realize how close we were to not being here,” Baker says.

Since then, the Association has worked diligently to move beyond building relationships to using city resources long term to ensure the viability of the community. As the agencies worked in the community, Ms. Baker built relationships with MDHA, Metro Codes, the Metro Police and other departments and uses those resources now to host workshops for the community on housing codes, property tax changes, estate planning, and crime prevention.

“A neighborhood association is the most important piece of the community. If a neighborhood does not have an association, the people do not have a voice,” Baker says.

The community continues to stay engaged and informed. They also advocate for improvements for their community such as nature trails, a fishing pond, a community garden, a health and wellness center, a children’s discovery center, and pushing for small business opportunities in Bordeaux. The community has now been granted 2 million in funds by Metro Stormwater to redo 8 specific areas in Bordeaux Hills to improve the stormwater drainage based on service requests and community input by the Association. Due to the Association’s participation in the city master planning, Metro Public Works will also be paving streets, and MDHA is also going to bring a community of townhomes to the area thanks to a redevelopment district based on what they requested. A greenway will soon also be built.

“We continue to create a vision. Not just for us, but for the future generations coming behind us. Because I always try to tell them, it’s not just about us. Yes we have a here and now, but want to leave the generation coming behind us something to build on.”

The Bordeaux Hills Homeowner’s Association meet every fourth Saturday at 10 AM at the Bordeaux Library.

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