Mayor Karl Dean announced Thursday morning plans to renovate and revive Nashville’s iconic Centennial Park.
The master plan has been developed through a collaborative effort between Dean, Metro Parks and Recreation, and The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park.
“I was excited when the conservancy approached me over three years ago with the idea to revitalize it,” Dean said. “The conservancy suggested a public-private partnership to take on this endeavor and for me to appoint a restoration committee to select a world class landscape design firm to draft a template for the future of Centennial Park.
“Two years later,” Dean added, “the master plan was announced and now we stand here today ready to begin implementing phase one of the master plan, which brings us one more step to having this park to be what it needs to be.”
The Centennial Park Master Plan is led by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. The firm was founded in 1985 and has worked in 25 of the 50 states and in nine different countries, earning more than 80 national and regional awards.
“Our work really operates at the intersection of design excellence and service to restoration ecology to create wonderful environments for people and wildlife to flourish,” said Thomas Woltz, principal and owner of the firm. “Today we have an amazing opportunity to envision Centennial Park, and we promise to do the best work possible for the people of Nashville.”
Phase one includes the rebuilding of the Parthenon parking lot, which Woltz says will bring more shade to the area and provide for more sustainable stormwater management. The early renovations also include building a stage and permanent seating area for Musician’s Corner.
Lake Watauga will be deepened and an effort will be made to improve water quality by pumping fresh water into it from Cockrill Spring, which will be unearthed for the first time in more than 100 years.
“When you drive into the park off West End Avenue there is a field to the left and in that field is the buried Cockrill Springs,” Woltz said. “We are going to daylight it, make it visible and run it as a stream across the field for people to see. It is an incredibly important moment culturally and historically for the city, and to bring the water back to life is really a symbol for the Renaissance of this park.”
Woltz said phase one is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2015 after one year of design followed by a year of implementation and construction.
The Master Plan outlines the full transformation of the park over six phases, which is expected to be commissioned and rolled out as funds are raised or come available.
Funding for phase one, amounting to $6 million, is complete. It was raised through Metro Water Services, Metro Parks and more than $1 million of private funding through The Conservancy.
“It is my hope that this master plan will lay the course for Centennial Park to remain the crown jewel of our city’s park system for the next century and beyond,” Dean said.