Nashville has a golden opportunity to transition a 68-acre park system, formerly hosting Greer Stadium, into much-needed green space for the neighborhood and the entire growing community.
Nashville Sounds minor league baseball team left the 41-year-old Greer Stadium in 2014, moving to the team’s new home in Germantown. That left the abandoned stadium decaying for five years while various organizations put forth ideas for the land, including the proposed Cloud Hill, a private, mixed-use project once supported by Mayor Megan Barry. Those plans were rejected after a rather loud outcry from Nashvillians and a new mayor taking office.
In April 2019, Mayor David Briley had the stadium demolished with plans to incorporate the land into the neighboring Civil War-era Fort Negley historic site. The combined Greer Stadium and Fort Negley site totals approximately 68 acres
During the Civil War, the area served as an encampment for the United States Colored troops. Fort Negley was built by the Union, largely by former slaves who fled to the Union lines. Hundreds from those troops perished because of harsh conditions and are believed to be buried on the hillside near Greer.
Fort Negley is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as part of UNESCO’s Slave Route Project.
As the president of Friends of Fort Negley Park, Clay Bailey, said, “Fort Negley and the area surrounding it represent an incredible opportunity to better tell the story of the American Civil War, Reconstruction and the profound contributions of African-Americans to our city and nation through that period of our history.”
In addition to the historical significance, the properties offer an incredible opportunity to expand our city’s network of parks and greenways for the enjoyment of all residents. Our city hasn’t had this much land in the urban core to dedicate to public park space since the 132-acre Centennial Park. It will be a perfect complement to Warner Parks (3,100-plus acres), located nine miles from downtown and Radnor Lake State Park natural area (1,368 acres).
After Core Development and Hines closed on a real estate deal in Wedgewood-Houston, we each put $200,000 towards funding nonprofits doing good work in that neighborhood. Of this money, $100,000 went to fund the RFP for the master planning of the Greer-Fort Negley land.
We believe conversion of the land to green space will have a significant long-term positive impact on Wedgewood-Houston and surrounding neighborhoods. The RFP has been awarded and the community process has ensued.
In November, Metro Parks and the Metro Historical Commission hosted “A Night for Fort Negley”, an interactive and immersive evening to honor the past and envision the future of the park. It was one of a series of meetings to gather input from the neighbors and the public about what they want for the future park.
Along with Metro Parks and the Metro Historical Commission, many of my Urban Land Institute Nashville peers — HDL, Pillars Development, and Centric Architecture — are involved in the master plan development for this land. I know they will honor Nashville’s history, keep the stories of our past alive, and help bring open space and greenway trails to even more of our residents.
I’m thrilled to be involved in this process and excited to see this come to fruition. This will be a signature amenity for the neighborhood and for the city of Nashville.
I hope you will attend one of the public meetings in 2022 and make your thoughts known about the future of Greer and Fort Negley. I know I will.
Stay informed on the Fort Negley Master Plan here: https://www.nashville.gov/.