A forested property that borders the Harpeth River in Bellevue will become a public park, in what one city official calls a "huge" gift.
The long-coveted 51-acre property will be donated to Metro Parks by The Dorothy Cate and Thomas F. Frist Foundation.
The land occupies part of a bend in the river near Morton Mill Road and will allow a connection to the area’s existing greenway, a potential canoe launch, extensive wooded trails and conservation of substantial trees, said Cindy Harrison, greenways and trails manager for Metro Parks.
“It is a beautiful piece of property with a great tree canopy,” she said. “Sometimes it takes years to get a piece of property, then all of a sudden like this, we get a phone call or a letter, and they’re ready to work with us.”
The department has been in talks about the property for close to a decade. The parks board voted Tuesday to accept the land donation, a milestone that will allow the parks department to seek funding to start work on a master plan.
The Harpeth River Greenway currently runs about 6 miles, and could add 2 more depending on the chosen route.
One gap remains in the greenway — because of a rail line obstacle and lack of access to one property where Metro has not been able to secure access.
“We hope to get that someday,” Harrison said.
As it stands, there are 87 miles of greenways in Davidson County. The countywide master plan — Plan To Play — sets a goal of adding another 53 miles by 2026.
“It’s ambitious, but I think it’s doable,” Harrison said.
Roughly 8 new miles are in the works. Most of those stretches follow waterways, but two additions will be “urban”: The city will extend the greenway that travels along 11th Avenue from the Gulch north to the Capitol View development. And the first phase of the I-440 greenway is under construction, forming a 1.25-mile connection between Centennial and Elmington parks.
Other upcoming greenway additions include:
- an added mile in Whites Creek at Fontanel;
- a connection to the Opry Mills area from the existing Shelby Bottoms Greenway;
- a 2-mile extension at Mill Creek Park;
- several miles at the Ravenwood property in Donelson;
- and several miles at the future regional park in southeast Davidson County.
Harrison said developing greenways tends to require a methodical long-view. Additions often depend on donated land or negotiated easements.
Perhaps counterintuitive, Harrison said that Nashville’s growth — especially riverfront construction and development of subdivisions — can also help.
“As properties are developed, we often get easements when they’re along the planned path of the greenways,” she said. “It is a prime time.”
For the latest map of greenways and a guide to Nashville’s bike infrastructure, visit this 2017 map created by Greenways For Nashville.