On a local radio program this week, a straight-shooting sports columnist from the local daily referred to the $14 million ice rinks set for construction at what was once Hickory Hollow Mall as “the Nashville Predators’ new practice facility.”
This is a persistent description of the project, despite multiple assurances from both Metro and the team that, in fact, the two rinks are intended for youth and recreational hockey, with only occasional appearances by the pros, who will primarily practice at their existing facility at Centennial Sportsplex.
There are people who thought the new ice rink would go to Bellevue Mall, but clearly they ignored that it is being targeted for new life as a high school/library/Ikea.
Obviously, that’s silly, because the Ikea is going to 11th and Charlotte, unless the new Sounds stadium goes there first. Unless the Sounds end up at the Thermal Plant Site or at Sulphur Dell or nowhere, because — according to what you were told secondhand from A Guy Who Is Really Well-Connected — the city isn’t moving forward with a new Sounds stadium because Nashville is next in line for a Major League Baseball expansion franchise — unless the Tampa Bay Rays relocate here first — a rumor we’ve been waiting to be true since even before that rumored Tuesday press conference announcing Peyton Manning-as-a-Titan.
Meanwhile, the Predators will, of course, practice from time to time on the ice at their home at Bridgestone Arena, which — despite a new, surprising and increasingly persistent rumor — is not going to be bulldozed to expand the Music City Center. The antenna at the front of the arena, by the way, does not broadcast anything — it’s just for decoration; the saber-toothed cat skull that inspired the team’s logo wasn’t found under the arena either, while we’re at it; it was under the Regions Center.
Perhaps this rumor came from the same people who insist Johnny Depp has purchased — or is interested in purchasing — a sprawling $17.5 million Franklin home. Depp hasn’t purchased it, nor, so far as anyone who would actually know can tell, has he demonstrated a desire to do so. The house is still for sale.
It does have the distinction of being one of the only houses in the area that Jesse James didn’t hide out in. Ask anybody in town with a house built before 1930: Jesse James hid out in their house. With as many places as he lived in Nashville, it seems Jesse James was the H.G. Hill Realty of his day — owning something like 3,000 houses in Davidson County if everyone who claims a connection can be believed.
Some of these houses, it’s rumored, were connected by a network of tunnels, because Nashville is also the It City of the Mole People. In truth, there are a few tunnels underneath the city — some carry utility lines, steam pipes and the like, and at least two are diversions of creeks that were once at street level. But a warren of escape tunnels … well, that one’s not true. Although if Jesse James owned as many houses as people seem to think he did, he’d probably want to connect them with his own underground BRT.
These tunnels, which don’t exist, don’t go to Mt. Olivet Cemetery, with its beautiful angel statue in Adelicia Acklen’s mausoleum — an angel that appears to be holding pills and a wine glass, allegedly symbolizing Acklen’s suicide brought on by the deaths of her children. Ms. Acklen, by the way, died of pneumonia. Maybe she caught it spending time in all those tunnels.
That tragic rumor is the kind of lie you’d tell while coasting a car up Gravity Hill at Warner Park, which was a thing that could be done before the road was closed to vehicles in 1989. Er, sort of. Folks may think the good people of the city’s tony west side are above the law — and they very well may be — but they are not immune to the laws of physics: Gravity Hill is (was?) just an illusion borne of the wishful thinking of generations of Nashvillians, who’ve been trying to will the unlikely into truth long before there were ice rinks in Antioch.