Nashville Mayor David Briley is planning to demolish Greer Stadium and convert the land into a park.
Briley will seek $1 million in funding from the Metro Council for the project. The money would come from the city's 4 percent reserve fund. The mayor plans to put the plan before the council in April.
Greer Stadium is the former home of the Nashville Sounds, who moved to a new ballpark in Germantown after the 2014 season.
After the demolition, the city plans on seeding the grass while they wait to obtain a Cultural Landscape Report from the Metro Historical Commission about how to best turn the area into a park and also honor the history of the site.
"The highest and best use of this site is to restore it to a historical park that can be enjoyed by Nashvillians and visitors alike,” Briley said. “I am grateful for all of the Nashvillians who have expressed a passion for doing just that and who will lend their voices and support in the coming months to make this vision a reality.”
The redevelopment of the area has been a controversial issue over the past few months after a recent study showed the historic area could be home to buried slaves.
Briley said the city will make sure to honor the lives of the slaves who built Fort Negley and likely died there. The fort was built during the Civil War and was constructed after Nashville surrendered to the Union Army.America’s history with race is, at the least, complex and painful. As a result, we’ve shied away from thinking about, let alone honoring, our past. Ft Negley played an important role in the Civil War, we need to honor the lives and deaths of the slaves who built the fort.
We owe that to their memory, and we owe it to history - our shared history as a city and community that need to be intentional and thoughtful about racial reconciliation. Mayor Megan Barry had already started moving toward this, and I’m pleased to be able to finish the job.Briley’s announcement is a big win for historic preservationists and neighbors who did not want the stadium developed into anything except a park.
News 4 spoke with a descendant of a slave who served in the military at Fort Negley during the Civil War, and he said he’s happy the mayor wants to preserve the African-American history associated with the area.
"If there would have been a Friends (of Negley) group before the building of Greer Stadium, then we wouldn't have gone through this same thing today," said Gary Burke, who is a Friends of Fort Negley board member. "It is an emotional feeling because I know that my roots are here. Providence would have it that I sang the national anthem in this very stadium back in 2008, not knowing then that I would sing on the ground of slaves that were on this historical site."
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