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TENNESSEAN ARTICLE: Centennial Park $22M phase two renovation announced

Jen Todd, 6:23 p.m. CDT September 9, 2016

Centennial Park's next renovations include updates to the trail around the lake, the band shell and the Great Lawn with $22 million of public and private funding.

This launches the second phase of the 119-year-old park’s renovations, with construction expected to begin in the fall 2017.

"Tomorrow’s Centennial Park will be a remarkably beautiful place that will elevate all of the vibrant activity that already takes place there, and it will be designed to withstand the city’s growth for generations to come,” Mayor Megan Barry said in a prepared statement.

Barry’s approved budget allowed $5 million for the project, plus $10 million subject to approval by the Metro Council over the next two years, $5 million from HCA and other private donations. The $22 million is part of a $30 million fundraising goal.

Construction will include:

  • Re-engineered soil and drainage of the Great Lawn, the location of events like the bi-annual Tennessee Craft Fair, to drain quickly during rained-on events;
  • New lighting at the Parthenon beginning at dusk every evening;
  • Updates to the band shell area, home to popular events such as the annual Shakespeare in the Park festival;
  • Native landscaping and a new trail around Lake Watauga.

"Now we are able to take the next step in making Centennial Park a 21st century greenspace that welcomes and endures community activity for the next hundred years,” Christy Smith, board chair for the Metropolitan Department of Parks and Recreation, said in a prepared statement.

Internationally-renowned landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz is leading the renovations.

The first phase of the park’s renovation included a permanent outdoor performance venue for Musicians Corner, cleaning of the lake, reorganization of roadways and parking around the Parthenon, and the resurrection of the long-buried Cockrill Spring.

The nonprofit Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park will usepictureyourpark.com and social media to encourage fans to share experiences and donate.

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