Where Nashville’s 2010 Flood Hit, New Ballpark Could Slow The Next One

Archive photo of the amphitheater in Bicentennial Mall, near the future baseball stadium, still sitting full of water days after the flood in May of 2010. (Photo by Daniel Potter)

Archive photo of the amphitheater in Bicentennial Mall, near the future baseball stadium, still sitting full of water days after the flood in May of 2010. (Photo by Daniel Potter)

When Nashville flooded in 2010, the area near where a baseball stadium is now planned north of downtown was inundated, with shops and apartments underwater.

The new ballpark’s design could help deal with potential flooding in the area, by slowing down some of the water as it heads toward the sewer.

The actual playing field will be a good 12 feet or so below street level – submerged, you might say.  If another storm were to dump a foot of rain on Nashville like the one three years ago, it’s easy to picture the new ballpark filling up like a lake.  In fact, that’s exactly what happened at an amphitheater in the Bicentennial Mall park a few blocks over, toward the farmer’s market.

But architect Bruce Miller says the new ball field isn’t meant to store flood waters like a pool: “It has a very extensive drainage system and piping system built into it – it’s all then collected and pumped out.”

Miller says right after a heavy rain, it’s good to slow down some of the water pouring into sewer pipes, so the underground system has time to handle it all.  So, if you have a bunch of impermeable parking lots that water flows right off of, like the site now, it’s not good.  If you have a grassy field gradually easing water along, it’s good.

“So it smooths the whole stormwater-runoff curve,” Miller says.  “So in many ways, this facility should make those conditions in that area better” —Not that Nashville is banking on having another historic flood anytime soon.  But just in case, Miller says the finished floor elevation will be a foot above the 2010 flood level.

Aerial view depicting the planned ballpark, with Bicentennial Mall toward the left and the amphitheater mentioned above in the southwest. (Image via Mayor Dean's office)

Aerial view depicting the planned ballpark, with Bicentennial Mall toward the left and the amphitheater mentioned above in the southwest. (Image via Mayor Dean’s office)


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