In terms of total acreage, Nashville’s public parks stack up pretty well against cities like Denver and Louisville, and only slightly trail Charlotte and Austin.
Yet new findings from local surveys and a Metro Parks study of “peer” cities show that Nashville lags in categories like swimming pools and dog parks. (Metro is above average for playgrounds and miles of trails.)
And in both surveys and public comments, residents say they want more outdoor swimming, park cafes or concession stands, and trails — both for hiking and paved loops.
These types of insights inform Metro’s ongoing “Plan To Play” process, which culminates in January with a new plan for the next 10 years of projects for Metro Parks.
The city last created such a plan in 2002, guiding where community centers and greenways were created, and the purchase of 2,000 acres of parkland.
At a regional center like Hartman Park in Bordeaux, nearby residents enjoy some of the amenities that others long for. There’s an indoor pool, a healthy list of activities, and basketball courts, a playground and paved path outdoors.
That’s where friends Nateshia Huddleston and Kia Kenner walk three mornings per week. The say they’re loyal to Hartman Park, but they still have ideas to make it better.
“Our kids, if they don’t like anything else, they love coming to the park,” Kenner said. “I think this playground has been out here for years. It’d be nice to have the playground updated a little bit.”
Huddleston adds that she’d like to see more tennis courts. Her wish is included in a draft list of recommendations, which calls for 25 new courts countywide.
More playgrounds are also likely. Metro wants to add 65 in the next decade.
Other ideas call for new recreation centers and athletic fields, along with eight more dog parks and 11 new places to swim.
Those goals appear in a draft report, and the final action plan is due in January.