Nashville's Parks Department is reconsidering its offer to let a private developer take over large portions of a neighborhood park near Music Row. The move comes after Edgehill residents pushed back against a California-based developer using the space as a staging area.
Many residents were livid when they discovered that Panattoni Development, one of the bigger players in Nashville, had been given the green light to take over a neighborhood park for at least a year. It needed more space to build its $35 million office next door.
In return, Panattoni offered to make $90,000 in park improvements. But they never told the neighborhood or asked residents for input.
This week, the Parks Board decided to consider reworking the agreement at its next board meeting, August 1.
"This is a community conversation that we probably should have had several months ago," says Councilman Freddie O'Connell. He only learned about the plans when his constituents did. Now, he's scrambling to broker a new deal.
"To get everybody's ideas on the table and try to build consensus takes more than a week and a half," O'Connell says.
O'Connell says Panattoni's use of the park hit a nerve with Edgehill residents, who are already feeling the squeeze of Nashville's growth. So much new construction in the neighborhood has led to numerous sidewalk and lane closures as well as overall gridlock.
"Why are these things that are actually public resources off limits to the public," O'Connell says.
In a statement, interim Parks Director Monique Odom said the Board will look at the comments and proposals and consider amending the agreement.