Turning Greer Stadium into a park would be an expensive (for taxpayers) and time-consuming undertaking.
In an effort to address commonly asked questions about the Cloud Hill proposal, we have begun a blog that answers important issues raised by the community.
Today’s post answers the question, “If Greer Stadium is on land owned by Metro Parks, why not just turn it into park land?”
Metro made the decision to seek out development ideas for the abandoned Greer Stadium site. Cloud Hill Partners and four other development teams put their best ideas forward to reimagine the Greer site specifically, and Cloud Hill was scored by an independent panel to have the best plan.
There are a couple of reasons for that. First, the Cloud Hill plan makes activated greenspace the focal point of its proposal. Thirteen of the 21 acres are dedicated to greenspace, open to the entire community year-round.
Second, the Cloud Hill plan lets Metro keep the land, doesn’t ask for any incentives and generates income for the city. The mayor and Metro Council haven’t budgeted for the creation of any new parks; in fact, there is a $600 million backlog of improvements to our existing parks. A new park at Greer Stadium would have to “jump the line” ahead of all the other spending priorities in Metro Parks or wait until all those improvements were completed before construction could begin. Other Nashville neighborhoods are in desperate need of new services and capital improvements for their existing parks.
Creating a new park at Greer Stadium would be costly. Experts on the Cloud Hill team estimate converting all 21 acres into park land would cost approximately $22 million. That doesn’t include ongoing maintenance and any programming designated for the park.
Cloud Hill, on the other hand, does not come with costs to Metro taxpayers.
Given its current budget constraints, Metro Parks does an amazing job of taking care of its 85 existing parks, more than 15,000 acres of greenspace and 85 miles of greenways. Putting a new park in front of the 43 projects on Metro Parks’ priority list could delay many of these improvements indefinitely. The Metro Council didn’t include any of them in the most recent capital improvements budget, giving a sense of how difficult it would be for Metro to take on an entirely new park right now.
In fact, in community meetings held in 2016, in advance of the request for development ideas, most of the people who attended didn’t request a park; they had their own unique ideas about how the property should be developed. Surveys of the neighborhoods surrounding the Greer site have demonstrated that affordable housing is a priority for people across the community.
Downtown business owners are in a constant scramble to keep employees, because there are no affordable housing options nearby and workers find commuting to their jobs expensive. Songwriters on Music Row are caught in the trap of rising rents and declining income from streaming services. Failure to address the challenges of affordable housing means Nashville risks losing those things that make our city unique.
The Cloud Hill team’s No. 1 priority has always been to address the needs and wants of the community, which is what our plan does.
We care about the future of the Greer Stadium site as well as the future of Nashville. We remain committed to working with the city and the community to create a place that honors and respects the history of the site, that benefits the people who live and work in Nashville, and that doesn’t price the people in the community out of their neighborhood.