Warner adds to parks

Thursday, June 3, 2004 at 1:00am

Friends of Warner Parks is acquiring 111 additional acres along Highway 100 to add to Percy and Edwin Warner Parks in West Nashville.

With more than 2,600 acres of forest and open land, the Warner Parks are the largest municipally administered parks in Tennessee.

Local Developer John Rochford, who presides over the Board of Friends of Warner Parks, said the total acquisition would include two parcels, the Kantz and the Beasley properties.

Rochford said Friends closed on the 31-acre Kantz property two weeks ago and plans to close on the 80-acre Beasley property in July.

Warner Parks Director Bob Parrish said the acquisition would lead the parks into a great future.

"This announcement is the greatest news for the Warner Parks since the early '30s when the park was created and the initial effort was made to acquire the land," Parrish said.

While the two properties are divided by a 60-acre parcel owned by H.G. Hill Realty Co., Rochford said H.G. Hill had already indicated it would take the Friends' property into account when making decisions about the future of the land.

"I think [H.G. Hill] has a genuine interest in seeing that area between in concert with what we're looking at for the park land we're acquiring," Rochford said.

Councilman Charlie Tygard (District 35) said he is aware that H.G. Hill may look at opportunities for the land in the near future, but for now its focus remains on its Green Hills project. The project will become a dense urban-style shopping center off Hillsboro Pike where the H.G. Hills grocery store sat.

William Kantz had presented several development plans for his property, the latest a 116-condominium project. Tygard said negotiations between Kantz and the Friends group started about nine months ago.

Rochford said the total amount of the acquisition of both properties would be about $4.5 million.

"We funded part of it and will go into the community and raise the rest," he said.

Rochford said he was a developer himself and the Kantz proposal had been a good one.

"Responsible development can be very good for the community," Rochford said. "It raises the tax base, but more importantly that particular area

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