East Nashville’s Shelby Bottoms Greenway could grow by 132 acres, with Metro considering the purchasing of nearby Cornelia Fort Airpark, which borders the park on its northwest side.
“This type of addition meets the purpose perfectly of the parks and greenway master plan and the open space plan” Metro Parks and Recreation Director Tommy Lynch said. “It’s a win-win situation for us.”
The parks department staff is set to recommend the purchasing of the property at the park board’s acquisition committee next Tuesday. For final approval, the full parks board would then need to sign off on the acquisition.
“There are some buildings on site,” Lynch said. “The plan would be for the buildings more than likely to be removed, and [the land] would then just be added into the open space that the park has. We would initially probably put some primitive paths in there, and then ultimately add it on to the pathways that connect in to Shelby Bottoms.”
Lynch said the airpark’s price tag is approximately $1.1 million. According to Metro parks administrators, William Colbert owns the airpark land.
“I think the park board is going to seriously consider approving the purchase, and we’ll be moving forward from there,” Lynch said.
With the 132-acre addition, Shelby Parks would become Metro’s fourth largest park in size, trailing only Beaman, Bells Bend and Warner parks. Lynch said Shelby Park, including Shelby Bottoms, is currently approximately 940 acres.
Metro Councilman Erik Cole, who represents the area, called the potential acquisition of the airpark a “monumental addition” to the open space system in Nashville.
“This a perfect transition for the city to preserve that space and to increase flood protection,” Cole said. “Without Shelby Bottoms, we would have a lot more houses damaged last year in the flood.”