Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fort Negley Park Reborn?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Wood Caldwell in his column over at The Tennessean has an interesting proposition for what to do with the Greer Stadium land once the Sounds move.

Transforming Greer Stadium into a municipal park with baseball and softball fields for youth and adult leagues would have an impact on the community and the local economy similar to that of the recent Riverfront Park transformation.

The stadium’s parking area affords plenty of space for a walking park and new retail to continue the development and up-and-coming nature of Melrose and SoBro. The site’s proximity to the Adventure Science Center gives Nashville a perfect opportunity to build on the legacies of Fort Negley and Greer Stadium as a family- and community-friendly destination.

I'm not convinced this is going to bring that part of town some huge economic impact, but I still think this is an awesome idea. In an ideal world, Nashville would involve the state's archaeology people in this, too. Redoing that whole area in order to make a park would present a great opportunity to give all that land where so much of our city's important history has happened — from the original fort construction to the refugee camp that surrounded it to the WPA project that brought us the fort as it stands now — a close going-over. It might be a great opportunity to involve local students.

And Caldwell is right that a park would tie in nicely with the fort and the science center. Man, if you want to talk about transforming that area, imagine putting in an Oak Street entrance that would tie the fort, the science center, the proposed park, and the city cemetery all together as an interesting area for families to visit and hang out.

I like it. It seems like the kind of dreaming-big that we've been doing a lot of for downtown and it's nice to see some public discussions of cool "what if?"s that benefit Nashvillians in, shall we say, less trendy neighborhoods.

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