Metro’s Stones River Greenway could expand by 181 acres, with the city working to finalize the acquisition of the privately owned Ravenwood Country Club in Hermitage.
Jim Fyke, of the Metro Finance Department, told The City Paper Metro officials are still finishing details of a deal that would allow the club’s acreage to become part of Metro’s greenways system. He declined to say how much Metro would pay for the property but said it would come out of $5 million in funds set aside for open space acquisition.
If a deal between the club owner David Watkins and Metro is hammered out this week, the Metro Parks and Recreation Department staff is set to recommend the club’s purchase to the nine-member parks board at its Nov. 1 meeting, next Tuesday.
“They’re recommending — assuming we have a signed agreement — that we go forward with the purchase,” Fyke said. “We still haven’t settled on a final price yet.”
The acquisition –– requiring Metro Council approval –– would come seven months after Metro paid $1.2 million for the 132-acre Cornelia Fort Airpark to add to East Nashville’s Shelby Park.
In hopes of sparing land from development, Mayor Karl Dean recently launched an open space plan that carries the ambitious goal of preserving 22,000 acres of land over the next 25 years. Both purchases fall under the plan’s umbrella.
Fyke said Watkins –– who purchased the country club in 2008 –– must contractually keep the club operating through 2013. Thus, if Metro does purchase the property, it would not take ownership until that time.
“The [country club] membership is getting what they agreed to in 2008 even if we buy it,” Fyke said.
If the club is purchased, Fyke said Metro wouldn’t continue operating the club’s existing 18-hole golf course on the acreage. But he said the city would make use of the club’s swimming and tennis facilities.
“[Metro] Parks will have to adjust,” Fyke said of converting the golf course to park space, “but I think fairly quickly it could be made into quite a bit of public use.”