Nashville architect Ben Page has a vision for the city’s Greer Stadium property, and it doesn’t include housing, retail or work space for musicians and artists.
Each are components of an ambitious redevelopment proposal for the 21-acre abandoned stadium site that Mayor Megan Barry’s administration has picked to transform the Metro-owned property.
But Page and his firm, Nashville-based Page | Duke Landscape Architects, have drawn up their own sketches for a different concept, one he says would return the property to its proper use.
His idea: a pastoral park that would sit downhill from, and become part of, Fort Negley Park, which has the Civil War-era fort as its focal point.
Metro already announced in May intentions to contract a development team called Cloud Partnership, whose proposal include green space as well, but on only eight acres. A request for proposals and decision followed a series of community meetings last year that was meant to find consensus for the future of Greer, which the minor league baseball Nashville Sounds’ vacated in 2014.
But park advocates and historic preservationists, including the group Friends of Fort Negley and now the Civil War Trust, have pushed back. They’re rallying behind an alternative idea — now graphically represented thanks to Page — to return the stadium and its surrounding parking lots back to a park, and only park.
‘Moment of redemption’
In the middle of the opposition is At-large Councilman John Cooper, a critic of the current Greer plan who Page said approached him and asked whether his firm would like to create an “alternative solution.”
Page envisions Greer helping create Nashville’s equivalent to Boston’s Emerald Necklace park system, a series of urban parks that are connected by greenways.
His plan has a large meadow garden that would have a new connection to the Nashville City Cemetery, which is currently separated by railroad tracks. He’s mapped out space for a reflection pool to honor the slaves who died building the fort, an amphitheater, a multi-use pavilion, a large open lawn, and walking and biking tails throughout. He’s suggested relocating the city’s Battle of Nashville Peace monument, created in 1927, to the top of Fort Negley Park.
It isn’t a formal proposal with a price tag or even a final draft, but an attempt to show how a park-only concept could look.
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