Natchez Trace added to list of Tennessee's top endangered proper - WSMV News 4

Natchez Trace added to list of Tennessee's top endangered properties

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(WSMV) (WSMV)
FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -

One of Middle Tennessee's most historic parkways made the list of the state’s most endangered properties.

The Natchez Trace runs from Mississippi to Nashville. A proposed mega-development could jeopardize the beauty along the parkway in Williamson County.

Many people in Williamson County told Channel 4 they hope the announcement will somehow halt development.

"It's very exciting," said Laura Turner with Citizens for Old Natchez Trace.

"Once a year, we select 10 sites that we determined to be in danger across the state," said Rachel Finch, a preservation consultant.

The Natchez Trace made this year's Ten in Tennessee list of most endangered historic properties.

"How can you not say that's historically significant and it's worth us recognizing?" said Finch, after reading off the list of historic sites along the trace.

"I am a firm believer in perseverance," Turner said.

For months now, Turner has been fighting to stop a mega-development, Stephens Valley, which will bring thousands of homes and commercial development to an area near Natchez Trace.

Turner and those against the development said it will ruin the town and country feel that makes Williamson County unique, and that traffic will be a nightmare.

"So many people think what can we do it's a done deal," Turner said.

Technically it is a done deal since both Davidson County and Williamson County approved the development.

However, with Wednesday night's announcement, Turner hopes more awareness and resources can change that.

"I always say that the passion behind the project is about 95 percent of the mission and the five percent will come in time," Finch said.

Passion is something Turner undoubtedly has.

There were several weekends over the summer Turner gathered people to stand at street corners holding signs about the development and educating her neighbors about the project.

Channel 4 asked Turner why she is so passionate about Natchez Trace.

"I just got chills when you asked me that," she said. "I think honestly it is kind of a spiritual thing. When I first moved here 33 years ago, one of the first roads I was on, because we were looking at houses, was the Old Natchez Trace. And with its stone walls I felt like it was magical, like I was going to a castle somewhere."

The history along the Natchez Trace currently lies in the hands of developers.

Developer John Rochford told Channel 4 he is 100 percent in line with protecting the Natchez Trace and that they have a reforestation plan that will buffer his development from any adverse impact with the Natchez Trace experience. 

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