On the same day Centennial Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places, Mayor Karl Dean committed to restoring and revitalizing Nashville’s marquee public space.
To do so, Dean announced the formation of a Centennial restoration committee, which will work to conserve and revitalize the park that was formed in 1897.
“I think it is worthwhile for the city to invest in it,” Dean said. “It already is, but I think it needs to be maintained and improved to be one of the centerpieces of our city. It’s obviously got a rich history. Some of the monuments haven’t been maintained like they should. It’s something I’d like to see restored to its former glory.”
Dean said the park revitalization would be paid for by a private-public partnership. The first phase of the master plan is expected to take a year or more.
The committee’s first order of business will be to issue a Request for Proposal for a new master plan for the park. Committee member Ben Armistead said the goal would be to walk the fine line between restoring the historic park to its original form and adapting it to modern uses.
Near the top of the priority list is refurbishing the park’s historic monuments, some of which are in serious need of repair.
“From my perspective, refurbishing and revitalizing the park is No. 1,” Armistead said. “From that you’ll get a list of current uses and we’ll invite the committee to get involved.”
The park was the site of the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition, which Armistead called the “greatest creative accomplishment in the history of Nashville.”
The Parthenon structure was created as part of the exposition.