Preservation Groups Continue to Raise Concerns


Since the city announced the winning development, the group behind the Nashville Adventure Park proposal, which came in fourth of five, has challenged the city's selection process. That means nothing can move forward until the dispute is resolved.

But disappointed developers aren't the only ones raising concerns.

Local preservationist groups are still hoping to halt the Greer Stadium redevelopment due to concerns about the land's historical significance.

Albert Bender, American Indian Coalition coordinator, is advocating archaeological exploration of the area.

Metro Parks removed trees at Fort Negley as part of a plan to restore the site to its original look in the 1860s. 

"There is, from my understanding, significant ancient Native American sites in the area," he said.

Bender also said that, considering Nashville and Middle Tennessee had one of the largest Native American populations 1,000 years ago, it is likely that Native Americans occupied the land.

He said the city should explore the history of that land before developing it.

Meanwhile, Zada Law, a historian and the director of Middle Tennessee State University's Geospatial Research Center, has studied the African-American history of the Greer site.

"We have a national treasure here," she said.

Law said that history dates from the Civil War to the civil rights era. The land was home to displaced African-Americans who sought refuge with the Union Army, many of whom lived and worked in the area for decades to come.

"I looked at the proposal, and I would like to see something that honors Nashville’s civil rights history," she said. "We should not just treat unused park space as real estate."

Law would like to see the area remain park space with an addition of a museum or cultural center detailing the history of the land.

The Cloud Hill group plans extensive archaeological work on site and wants to make sure the area's history is preserved, particularly by drawing attention to nearby Fort Negley.

Mayor Megan Barry's administration has picked the developer it wants to redevelop the old Greer Stadium, choosing a vision for the site that includes large pockets of park space, affordable housing and creative arts and music space.

In a statement, Mayor Megan Barry has said the group has put together a thoughtful proposal and applauded the "plan to honor and respect" Fort Negley Park.

Burnett also has said the reason he got involved is to help preserve the area.

"I am a preservationist," Burnett has said. "So as soon as I hear a public property is being developed, my blood turns to ice water, which is part of why I stepped in here as a member of the community. I wanted to come up with a better plan than any of these developers can because they're trying to make money. This is a legacy project for us."