Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty honored beloved Mt. Juliet matriarch Jenny Bess Hibbett on Wednesday during his annual State of Mt. Juliet address.
Hibbett, dubbed the “Dame of Mt. Juliet,” is a founder of Mt. Juliet incorporated. Forty years ago on March 21, she became the first female commissioner of Mt. Juliet, and she served as the first female mayor of Mt. Juliet two years later.
She also helped establish the first kindergarten in Mt. Juliet, as well as Mt. Juliet Christian Academy, where she taught for several years.
She is also heavily involved in the Mt. Juliet Public Library, where she has read to at least five generations of Mt. Juliet residents. During the library’s latest renovation, she donated part of her land to the library.
Hagerty said honoring Hibbett was special for him and his family.
“All of my daughters grew up under her care in preschool and kindergarten. She’s had a huge impact,” he said.
“Keep living like you are, because we have an excellent, excellent reputation here in Mt. Juliet,” Hibbett said.
Mt. Juliet Commissioner Brian Abston highlighted current and future projects in the Providence Marketplace region of the city, including a bridge-widening project over Interstate 40.
The city plans to widen Mt. Juliet Road and the bridge by about 12 feet to the west, rather than the east, to help alleviate some of the traffic in the area.
The city worked with the Tennessee Department of Transportation in the last few years to develop plans for the bridge widening. The bridge improvements will also include bicycle lanes and sidewalk improvements, which will increase safety for those commuters.
Abston said the project is expected to begin by the end of the year.
Hagerty also discussed the city’s housing boom, noting more than 500 residential housing permits were issued in the city.
“The real estate market is very healthy. Homes sell quickly. Property values are increasing, and it just boggles the mind,” Hagerty said.
“The vision and perseverance of our founders brought us to 2018 – a modern, edge-city of Nashville, where you can truly live, work, shop, play and worship. Life is good.”
By Xavier Smith