Legal battle halts Edwin Warner Park expansion project - WSMV News 4

Legal battle halts Edwin Warner Park expansion project

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)

Edwin Warner Park's dedicated hikers, bikers, runners and dog walkers keep coming back.

"I've been running this park for 18 years," said Nashville runner Jeff Johnson.

"I come out here at least once a week," Kristie Pennington said.

"I've come every day for the last two and a half years," John Thacker said.

When they do, they notice the signs across the street promising more.

"I have, and I'm ready for more trails and more roads because I've run these trails so many times over the last 18 year. I'm looking for some more scenery," Johnson said.

The trails and lots at the new Edwin Warner Park expansion look ready, and yet the gate has remained locked for months.

Wednesday, Channel 4 learned the holdup has to do with the CSX train tracks on the property and a long legal fight over who is and isn't allowed to cross them.

"I think if more people knew about it then they would probably petition to get it resolved," Ashley Green said.

An attorney for Metro's legal department, Tom Cross, said the city needs its employees to be able to cross the tracks to build a tunnel so park-goers won't have to cross the tracks. Workers will also need to cross it in the future for park maintenance.

Metro and CSX disagree about who owns the land under the track.

CSX refused to allow Metro to cross, bringing progress to a screeching halt. The two groups have been arguing back and forth ever since.

"It is disappointing to know there's a holdup for that," Pennington said.

A spokesperson for CSX sent a statement saying:

We are now in discussions with Metro legal department regarding the terms of the agreement for access across the operating rail corridor. We look forward to completing the necessary steps as efficiently as possible to enable this project to move ahead.

Until something changes, the park remains closed. The fall colors still put on their show, but no one's there to see it.

"That's a waste. That's a waste of time and energy and all the effort they took to build it. It's there. We should be able to use it," Green said.

The park project was supposed to be completed in November. Cross said he's confident they will be able to come to an agreement with CSX in the next few weeks.

Even if that happens, it will then have to be approved through Metro Council. Only then can crews start building the pedestrian tunnel.  

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