City Of Murfreesboro Begins Work On Guidelines For Development


City of Murfreesboro Begins Work on Design Guidelines for Citywide Development


The City of Murfreesboro has contracted with Ragan-Smith Associates to update and complete work begun in 2005 on citywide design guidelines. The work, which spanned approximately 18 months at that time, was slowed and then halted as the economic recession occurred. Now, as Murfreesboro is poised to experience unprecedented growth over the next few years, adopting citywide design guidelines is a vital step in ensuring a healthy balance between such varied interests as history, business, green spaces, the arts, recreation, a clean environment, affordable housing and education, while maintaining a strong foundation for strong jobs growth and economic development.

According to the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, the Murfreesboro population in 2014 was 118,676, with a projected population for the city of 127,828 by 2019.

“An improved aesthetic appearance in the areas of streets and landscape, site design and architecture have proven to be key elements in high quality jobs recruitment,” said Randy Caldwell, Ragan-Smith Executive Vice President and a registered landscape architect (RLA). The project will result in a planning document that will be utilized to communicate design expectations for new development that occurs in the city.

Diversifying and expanding the jobs base has been a goal of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County since 2000, when a key study performed by Middle Tennessee State University found that while manufacturing employment continued to be strong in the region, manufacturing alone could not provide the County with the number and quality of jobs, wages and superior quality of life that Rutherford Countians expect. Multiple initiatives, including Destination Rutherford, the Gateway Class A office space development, a conference center, a visitors center, an expanded roadway signage program, among others, have provided a strong foundation since that time for improved jobs growth.

Multiple opportunities for input and feedback throughout the design guidelines process will be available, including a steering committee with multiple meetings, workshops and a community public open house. The Design Guidelines Steering Committee includes Amy Farrar, attorney, Farrar|Wright; Rick LaLance, Pinnacle Financial Partners and Murfreesboro City Council member; Blake Smith, Smith Design/Build; Beth Duffield, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development; Jim Lowen, architect, Lowen Associates; John Blankenship, commercial real estate developer, The Parks Group; Matt Taylor, design engineer, SEC, Inc.; and Kathy Jones, managing broker, The Parks Group.

“We look forward to hearing from all citizens about their desires for Murfreesboro,” Caldwell added. “We factor in all public input as we develop the guidelines.”

“Having clearly defined guidelines will help developers and companies who want to locate or expand here better understand the type of development our community is looking for,” said Margaret Ann Green, AICP, Principal Planner for the City of Murfreesboro and lead Murfreesboro planner for this project. “We have a long history of working effectively to balance the interests of developers with our community’s desire for strong aesthetics, and these guidelines will help us articulate these expectations and requirements without ambiguity.”

The work process includes a thorough review of the draft guidelines, steering committee input feedback, public input and feedback, and revising the initial draft to address original and new initiatives that address the overall goals and objectives of the document.

Ragan-Smith developed the Master Plan for Murfreesboro’s Gateway project and has worked on multiple development and planning projects and studies in the mid-state region.

In addition to Caldwell, working on the Ragan-Smith team are Kevin Guenther, RLA, LEED AP ASLA, Ragan Smith Associates; Michael Hindman, H. Michael Hindman Architects and Terri Sterling Donovan, APR, Sterling Communications.

For information about the Murfreesboro Design Guidelines, contact Margaret Ann Green, Murfreesboro Planning, at 615.893.6441 or via email at

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