Nashville conservationists are making quiet progress toward purchasing some-322 acres of land along Highway 100 owned by the H.G. Hill Company.
Friends of Warner Parks is looking to add the property to the Metro-run park, which will put it over 3-thousand acres.
Friends of Warner executive director Eleanor Willis says she realizes the park is one of the country’s largest in an urban area. She says the Hill property, however, could be the final piece to act as a buffer from encroaching development.
“When developers came in on highway 100 wanting to put in apartment houses and multi-family homes – that kind of thing – condos, we would have a say at the table about how that happened.”
So far, the organization has raised 7.5-million dollars. 1.6-million of that is a grant from the state’s Heritage Conservation Trust Fund. Last week, Metro requested a half-million dollar matching grant from several state agencies and the U-S Department of Agriculture. Willis says she’s waiting on a final appraisal of the Hill property this month before announcing a fundraising goal. Those familiar with the deal estimate it could cost 16-million dollars, which would be the largest fundraising effort in the group’s history.
The Hill Company has given Friends of Warner first dibs on the land, which has on it some of the oldest trees in the state.
Friends of Warner raised 5.5-million dollars over the past five years to purchase a separate 130-acres. The group hasn’t transferred ownership of that piece yet because it may need it for collateral if it can’t raise enough money to by the Hill property.