Mom of three is the force behind a new theme park
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - In 2025, a massive new theme park will open in Nashville called Storyville Gardens. The woman behind it is a young mom with three children.
DeLisa Guerrier, 34, is the Founder and Creator of Storyville Gardens. She’s the managing partner of Guerrier Development, a company that currently has roughly $250 million in property under development.
In 2021, Guerrier publicly announced this major theme park would be coming to Nashville – complete with a mixture of modern technology and traditional show-based entertainment to bring stories to life. The goal of the park is to ignite and foster the desire to read for fun.
“There’s a study that shows if we can get our children to read for fun their test scores will increase,” says Guerrier. “To me, Storyville is this platform, this foundation where we can bring these stories to life to allow children to interact. So, will it make children want to read for fun? We think so!”
Guerrier describes herself as an avid reader as a child, growing up in Northern California during the drug epidemic. For her, reading was an escape.
“I know as a child, I needed a respite,” says Guerrier. “Reading and writing was an escape for me.”
Guerrier sees the park and the nonprofit literacy center that will accompany it as opportunities to make real change for Tennessee children.
“We want to create things around our community not only for us to be proud of but for the community to be proud of,” says Guerrier. “Sometimes when I see a piece of property, I see it for what it could be and not what it is. I see how this could bring community together.”
This big dream for a theme park came literally from a dream in 2016. She initially planned to make a community park roughly 8 acres in size, but the idea grew as people came into her life who could make it happen.
Mel McGowan of Storyland Studios is leading the project design. McGowan helped design Universal Studios, Disney, Marvel and LEGOLAND. The two met at a conference in Orlando.
Guerrier has not announced where the park will be built but is confident it will open in 2025.
“I think that something happens when you know your task is not your own,” says Guerrier. “My faith is what guides me, but I also know, what is faith with no work?”
All of the park planning has been happening out of Guerrier’s Brentwood home. At the beginning of COVID in 2020, she moved her development company’s operations into her basement. She’s been holding planning and design meetings out of her home this entire time.
In the Fall 2021, Guerrier became the youngest woman ever to be inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame. It’s an impressive nod to the work she’s already done.
“There are children of all ages who need [the park]. That’s who I’m doing it for and because of that it doesn’t matter what anyone says or what anyone’s opinion is,” says Guerrier. “There is no outside influence that could penetrate the plans that I have. Period.”
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