Dean announces plan to renovate Centennial Park, improve Lake Watauga

Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 3:25pm


Mayor Karl Dean announced Thursday morning plans to renovate and revive Nashville’s iconic Centennial Park.

The master plan has been developed through a collaborative effort between Dean, Metro Parks and Recreation, and The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park.

“I was excited when the conservancy approached me over three years ago with the idea to revitalize it,” Dean said. “The conservancy suggested a public-private partnership to take on this endeavor and for me to appoint a restoration committee to select a world class landscape design firm to draft a template for the future of Centennial Park.

“Two years later,” Dean added, “the master plan was announced and now we stand here today ready to begin implementing phase one of the master plan, which brings us one more step to having this park to be what it needs to be.”

The Centennial Park Master Plan is led by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. The firm was founded in 1985 and has worked in 25 of the 50 states and in nine different countries, earning more than 80 national and regional awards.

“Our work really operates at the intersection of design excellence and service to restoration ecology to create wonderful environments for people and wildlife to flourish,” said Thomas Woltz, principal and owner of the firm. “Today we have an amazing opportunity to envision Centennial Park, and we promise to do the best work possible for the people of Nashville.”

Phase one includes the rebuilding of the Parthenon parking lot, which Woltz says will bring more shade to the area and provide for more sustainable stormwater management. The early renovations also include building a stage and permanent seating area for Musician’s Corner.

Lake Watauga will be deepened and an effort will be made to improve water quality by pumping fresh water into it from Cockrill Spring, which will be unearthed for the first time in more than 100 years.

“When you drive into the park off West End Avenue there is a field to the left and in that field is the buried Cockrill Springs,” Woltz said. “We are going to daylight it, make it visible and run it as a stream across the field for people to see. It is an incredibly important moment culturally and historically for the city, and to bring the water back to life is really a symbol for the Renaissance of this park.”

Woltz said phase one is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2015 after one year of design followed by a year of implementation and construction.

The Master Plan outlines the full transformation of the park over six phases, which is expected to be commissioned and rolled out as funds are raised or come available.

Funding for phase one, amounting to $6 million, is complete. It was raised through Metro Water Services, Metro Parks and more than $1 million of private funding through The Conservancy.

“It is my hope that this master plan will lay the course for Centennial Park to remain the crown jewel of our city’s park system for the next century and beyond,” Dean said.

7 Comments on this post:

By: 4gold on 6/8/13 at 5:46

Ah, that explains why my water bill made a 1/3rd jump. Another Dean legacy project. That big field over Cockril Spring was once a race track where Andrew Jackson raced his horses.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: bfra on 6/8/13 at 1:56

I'm with you on that 4gold! I also wondered why my water bill jumped when I have not used any more water than usual. Karl is sconding money for his pet projects again!

By: pswindle on 6/9/13 at 12:25

This shows that Dean will fund anything but the Fairgrounds. He wants that property so badly then he can turn it into another business center. We have empty business centers all over town, lets fill them and leave the one thing that all can enjoy alone. All you have to do is put a little money in the Fairgrounds as you have your other pet projects.

By: kevin47881 on 6/10/13 at 7:29

I really need to move back out of this county.

By: Left-of-Local on 6/10/13 at 9:38

"WAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Progress in my city! Grouse, grouse, grouse!! Waaaahhhh!!!!"

Go be hillbillies elsewhere. I look forward to further enjoying the park.

By: kevin47881 on 6/10/13 at 9:54

If you want to enjoy your park, pay for your park or the city should sell it to the highest bidder and then charge a usage fee. I'd be good with that for all parks. The city/county has no reason being in that business to begin with.

By: ohplease on 6/11/13 at 9:48

So long, Kevin.