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Opposition Grows Against Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s Plans To Redevelop Fort Negley Park

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Opposition is growing against Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s plans to open Fort Negley Park to private development.

Part of Fort Negley Park was home to Greer Stadium from the late 1970s until 2015, when the Nashville Sounds minor league baseball team moved to a new stadium just north of downtown.

Barry has accepted a proposal from a development team called Cloud Hill Partnership, but Metro has not yet formally entered into an agreement. Plans for the Metro-owned property call for including affordable housing for workers, shops and restaurants, green space and creative spaces for artists. Under the proposed deal, Metro would retain ownership, with the development team investing private funds and sharing revenue.

Critics include African-American groups, Councilman John Cooper, a national nonprofit devoted to protecting cultural landscapes and many native Nashvillians.

“They shouldn’t even be considering this,” Nashville native Doug Jones told The Tennessee Star Friday. “That is sacred ground out there.”

Jones, a local attorney, is a past president of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society. He told The Star that Ft. Negley Park is a site of national importance and that “this is not just some local thing that the mayor can do in a back room with rich developers.”

Jones said that “Greer Stadium never should have been built there, much less anything else.”

Fort Negley was built during Union occupation of Nashville during the Civil War. The largest inland stone fort built during the war, it was constructed with the forced labor of slaves and free blacks, a quarter of whom died from sickness in the winter of 1862. The United States Colored Troops, 13th Infantry Regiment, were among those stationed at the fort during the war and the Battle of Nashville, and reeanactors have relived their stories.

Some descendants of the slaves and soldiers are against the redevelopment plans and a formal protest has been filed with the city’s finance department, according to The Tennessee Tribune, an African-American newspaper.

“If it can happen here it can happen at other Metro parks,” Gary Burke, a descendant of one of the African-American soldiers stationed at Fort Negley, told The Tribune. Burke is on the board of the Friends of Fort Negley.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., is also criticizing the proposal.

“It’s unclear what the scale and mass of the new development would be, though park advocates have raised concerns about increased vehicular traffic and impacts on significant view sheds, along with damage to archaeological and cultural artifacts,” the group says on its website.

Barry spokesman Sean Braisted defended the proposal in a statement he shared on The Tribune website:

The reality is that this proposal is going to turn parking spaces into park space that the community can use and enjoy. It will convert an unused baseball [stadium] that is falling apart and turn it into affordable housing for working families, maker space for creative entrepreneurs, artist space, and restaurant and retail for the neighbors to enjoy. It will activate a portion of land that sits unused, better connect the neighborhoods, and entirely protect Fort Negley Park in a way that encourages more people to use this historic Nashville treasure. The proposal will also incorporate an archeological survey before disturbing the small amount of soil that isn’t currently covered by asphalt or structures. In reality, this plan would take 67% built (paving and stadium) environment and create 60% open and green space. It would do so in a way that honors and protects history, rather than just selling the land to the highest bidder or letting the stadium sit and rot.

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Opposition Grows Against Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s Plans To Redevelop Fort Negley Park

  1. Almost 20 years ago, I submitted Fort Negley to the Civil War Preservation Trust as one of this most endangered sites in the United States. It was selected #1. The Purcell administration had an immediate response to resuscitate the moth-balled city park. In December 2004 it reopened after 60 years.

    Jim Lighthizer (still President of the Civil War Trust) flew to the press conference in Nashville. He praised the city, and those of us active in the preservation effort. It’s ironic that he chastised the Franklin and Murfreesboro municipalities for not doing more to save their hallowed battlefields. His quote, I remember, was “get into politics, or get out of preservation”.

    Ironic, at least in Franklin, people listened. 20 years later, I can count at least 5 tracts of commercial property that have been reclaimed, cleared and turned back into core battlefield grassland.

    I remember attending the victory party for Bill Purcell in 1999. We had met at a Greenways fundraiser when he was running for office. After moving back to Nashville from Denver, Colorado I wondered how long it would take Nashville to catch up with the Greenways network that city had developed.

    Mayors Bill Purcell and Karl Dean can take credit for many miles of true green space and green ways. This is not the time to reverse this course, and even more abhorrent, is the desecration of this extremely important part of African American history. Hundreds died at Fort Negley in the service to this country!

    I thought this city had matured beyond the power of property development influence. Shame on you that do nothing to stop this.

    “The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything” – Albert Einstein.

  2. Greg Biggs

    If this development goes through I truly hope that Nashvillians will mass and support whoever runs against Mayor Barry for re-election! I, for one, will boycott Nashville. I do not spend my money in places that do not care for their own history. I will greatly encourage others to do the same.

  3. […] plan by Cloud Hill Partnership has already drawn fierce opposition because of concerns about historic preservation. Located south of downtown, the land is home to a […]

  4. Mary

    You have to do archaeological work under the whole thing, not just the undisturbed soil. Sort of clever to exclude that from the statement since that archaeological work will slow things down for years. We may talk slow, Ms. Mayor, but we ain’t stupid.

  5. Wolf Woman

    BTW, the Cloud Hill Partnership is the brainchild of Bert Matthews of the Matthews family and their three generations of commercial business projects. Seems Bert loves the progressive socialists as he held fundraisers for Elizabeth Warren, she of faux Cherokee heritage, and Karl “Marx” Dean.

  6. Wolf Woman

    Wake up and smell the coffee, Councilman Cooper, Doug Jones and the Tennessee Tribune. Why would a Californian like Mayor Moonbeam Megan Barry care about old Southern battlefields and monuments?

    Our local history probably embarrasses her and she wishes Nashville had never been involved with slavery and the War Between the States so she could implement her progressive project. She doesn’t seem like much of a history buff to me. Otherwise she wouldn’t try to sell our city’s soul for a sanctuary city.

    This is a collusion of a socialist government and the Cloud Hill Partnership, who gets Federal and State money (our tax dollars) for building “Affordable Housing.” And it allows the implementation of MMM’s social engineering UN Agenda 21 scams and leave us, the citizens, holding the tax bag.

    1. Peter Mullen

      I totally agree with you.. but Nashville elected her as mayor, so deal with it.

      1. Peter Mullen

        Transplanted non-Southerners will NEVER understand our culture and heritage and will never work to preserve it.

  7. Peggy

    Against this plan of the mayor’s!

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