Deer, turtles and bluebirds now live in the place where Nashville hauled its trash for 20 years, which recently became certified as a wildlife habitat.
The tract of 300 acres – more than 200 football fields – was the site of the Bordeaux landfill, which was long reviled by its neighbors, with some saying the mostly black community nearby felt like the city’s dumping ground. The landfill closed in 1996, and in 2004 Metro began an effort to grow native grass and plants on the site, while weeding out invasive species.
At the site Thursday, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean touted the certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council – a nonprofit that helps corporations and municipalities manage the ecology of unused land.
While the landscape is still dotted with industrial buildings and gas tanks, Metro Public Works’ Veronica Frazier described it as “pretty scenic.”
“No longer you have garbage trucks going in and out dumping garbage. You don’t see garbage piles, you certainly don’t have the odor – We have a nice breeze going on right now and it smells pretty good.”
Frazier says a few groups of Scouts have already visited, and school groups will likely follow in the next few months. Mayor Dean spoke only sparingly of the landfill’s contentious history, saying few if any guessed it would one day be a habitat.