Bells Bend's neighbors want green.
The developers want green of a different sort for the city and themselves.
Maybe there's a way everyone gets what they want and not one piece of dirt is moved on the bend other than to grow a vegetable.
If the discussion over the May Town Center proposals indeed becomes about the urban core, then perhaps one idea would be to swap land the city owns in the urban core with the Bells Bend property the May family owns.
Nashville is trying to figure out what should be down with the State Fairgrounds and the racetrack. The Nashville Sounds lease is running out on Greer Stadium. There’s the former Thermal site and many others.
They just aren't contiguous nor clean, requiring demolition and clean up of some kind. Clearly, it would be complicated.
Paul Ney, director of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development, said Metro is taking an inventory of what it owns as it tries to figure out sites for luring potential users.
"One of the best ways it might be best used is swapping," Ney said.
He's not endorsing the idea of swapping it for Bells Bend. He and Mayor Karl Dean have stayed on the sideline with that proposal, saying not much more than it's an intriguing proposition.
Ney said, though, it all should be part of the broad strategic thinking process.
But a swap like that would make many happy.
Bells Bend area owners certainly would be pleased to have more than 1,000 acres of park land. They could create an entity like the Friends of Radnor Lake. Through that, they could establish organic farming as an educational venture.
"It's certainly a viable entity for that kind of thing," Emmie Thomas, director for Friends of Radnor Lake, said of creating a similar non-profit.
The Tennessee State Fair could move out there in more rural surroundings more befitting to the livestock shows. A Ferris wheel, roller coaster rides and the noise could be bothersome, but in the middle of 2,000 acres maybe not.
There would be issues of valuation to make it an even swap.
For the May family, it gets urban property to build "urban" instead of "new urban."
"It's a very interesting idea because it appeals to those loyal to the core idea," said Dave Cooley, who works with Bells Bend property owners opposed to the May Town Center proposal.
The neighborhood next to the fairgrounds wants the racetrack to go away and favors mixed-used development.
Developer Tony Giarratana, who is consulting on the May project, noted the valuation issue and seemed cool to the idea.
"I think all of those properties should be developed," he said regarding urban property.