Dean commits to restore Centennial Park

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 2:42am
Mayor Karl Dean says a new private-public partnership will be used to restore Centennial Park. Matthew Williams/The City Paper

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.

Filed under: City News
By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Nashville is lucky to have Centennial Park. I am glad Mayor Dean is committed to this park.

By: dooley on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The park looks beautifully maintained to me as it is . I really don't know what needs to be revitalized . It is the most beautiful city park I have ever visited in any city or state.

By: dooley on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Any thing they do to it will only be icing on the cake.

By: nvestnbna on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Many of the community centers around the city have received new facilities. This would be a welcome upgrade to the park. This center currently houses Centennial Youth Ballet, a Youth Music Program, and senior dance programs.I agree with others - this is a unique park.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I wonder if the train and the jet are considered 'historic monuments'. The Parthenon was restored not too many years ago.This is Nashville's equivalent of Central Park and certainly should be maintained. It doesn't need to be changed. And they don't need to invest in any more movable fishing chairs to replace all the ones that disappeared.

By: JoanM2000 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

A good start would be to prohibit fishing in the pond! People lined up fishing really detracts from things.

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Is this pledge appropriate in light of the poor state of affairs in our schools, the poor economy, and Deans pledge to not raise our property taxes? If Dean proposes an idea such as this...AND then breaks his pledge to not raise taxes, I'll be an "activist" in the next election against him. Mayor my lips...."Keep Your Word!"

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Joan, I think they actually have to stock the pond, since it's artificial. So maybe if they stop putting fish in, nobody will try to fish them out.

By: SirKnight on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I have been going to that wonderful park since my family moved here in 1964. I have so many great memories of that place. I remember walking across the frozen Lake Watauga in the dead of winter with about six inches of snow on the ground (1968?). I remember seeing the Harvey's Christmas display of the manger scene every year in front of The Parthenon (which is hard to imagine anything like that being done today given our PC world!) I also remember feeding the ducks, flying kites, throwing frisbees, going to arts festivals, watching movies, listening to the Nashville Symphony and playing on The Parthenon steps. I'm very proud that Nashville has such an amazing park as ours. We are truly blessed. Thanks, Mayor Dean, for taking the initiative to renew some of its worn down features for us all to enjoy.

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It may be a worthy project but, I agree with Anna3 that now is not the time. Maybe Metro is flush with cash and can afford spending on non-essential projects.Meanwhile, Bredesen is down the street laying out massive cuts to the state budget. Does Mayor Dean think that Nashville will be unaffected?

By: TharonChandler on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Wow, while the 'toothepaste' in the 'Pratt Jail' seems to really clean the mouth it also seems to strain the eyes, somehow. I didn't realize that the Cops (city and/ or county, KS) could just come and pick ya up off the side of a back road (several kilometers outside of town, in the middle on nowhere) just to keep ya from attending a specific church service scheduled for the following morning. Though the toothepaste and the jail food seemed o.k., for the weekend, I'd have much rather met with my church aquaintances and there i probably would have been able to better choose my own toothepaste, down-time, and etc. When anyone is in fact 'homeless' then it limits the places where they might enjoy what every individual deserves regularly; which brings up some reasons that 'Public Park' space ie, Centinnenial) can be so important to quality of life in the cities. Specificly the people at 'Dolores Park' in SF and Central Park in NYC make good hosts without a lot of strange hassle from the copperheads.

By: 2thepoint on 12/31/69 at 6:00

TharonChandler: do I understand you to mean that we should restore Centennial so that homeless people can hang around there? Seriously?

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Anna3, what you must realize is Dean caters to his audience of the moment. Predators, green initiatives, public schools (although his child attends private schools), animal welfare, whatever is on Dean's daily schedule is the BIG issue. Got to make constituents happy and give the impression Metro has money for each cause. Lip service will be the legacy of this administration.