PRESS RELEASE: Centennial Park Master Plan Now Underway

June 13, 2013

Ambitious six-phase process begins with restorations of water features throughout the park

Nashville, Tenn. (June 6, 2013) - Mayor Karl Dean, in partnership with Metro Parks and The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, today announced that dramatic renovations to Nashville's iconic Centennial Park are now underway. The announcement comes after an extensive planning process, which resulted in the 2011 release of a six-phase master plan to restore and enhance the park. Internationally renowned landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz is leading the project.

Phase 1 of the project will take two years to complete and revolves around restoration of existing water elements in Centennial Park including daylighting an untapped fresh water spring, Cockrill Spring, running beneath the park. The $6 million to execute Phase 1 has been secured through Metro Water Services, Metro Parks and over $1 million of private funding generated through The Conservancy.

Mayor Dean created the Centennial Park Master Planning Committee in 2008. There have been numerous public sessions for community input throughout the planning process.

"Since its creation in 1897, Centennial Park has been at the heart of our city as a prominent place for community, music, recreation and the arts," Mayor Dean said. "The design and vision planned for Centennial Park captures its rich history and reflects its future as a beautiful and sustainable centerpiece of our wonderful park system."

The design and execution of the Centennial Park Master Plan is being led by internationally renowned landscape architect firm, Nelson Byrd Woltz (NBW), whose work includes the Peggy Guggenheim Sculpture Garden in Venice, Italy, the National Arboretum of New Zealand, Citygarden in St. Louis, and Hudson Yards in New York City.

During Phase 1, Cockrill Spring, a spring that flows clear and cold through an underground pipe, will be daylighted to create a stream and surface water feature in the front zone of the West End entrance to Centennial Park. This flowing stream will be accompanied by new gardens, groves and a meadow. In addition, a permanent outdoor performance venue for Musicians Corner will be integrated into Phase 1 to be located where the event is already taking place with temporary staging near the West End entrance. The new music venue will include a stage, infrastructure for sound and lighting, and a combination of fixed amphitheater seating and picnic lawn.

"The revitalization of Nashville's most popular park will not only restore some of the monumental historical elements of this beloved space, but also create innovative landscape features that will reflect our city's bright future going forward," said Metro Parks Director, Tommy Lynch. "We are so happy to begin the first phase of this important restoration project that will serve Nashville well into the future."

Phase 1 also includes the reorganization of roadways and parking lots by the Parthenon, and improving the water quality of Lake Watauga. By dredging the existing lake and pumping fresh water from Cockrill Spring, Lake Watauga will transform into a fresh flowing lake ensuring long term sustainability.

The expected date of completion for Phase 1 is May 2015.

Directed by Metro Parks, the improvements to Centennial Park are aided by The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, a nonprofit organization serving the community through stewardship and promotion of The Parthenon and Centennial Park.

"Nashville is known for its generous spirit and strong sense of community," said Sylvia Rapoport, president of The Conservancy. "The people who live in this city and love it never fail to step up in helping to make it a better place to live. We've seen it time and again at the Parthenon and Centennial Park, and we've already seen it for Phase One of the master plan. Now we look forward to seeking the help of the community as we work to make future phases a reality until the park is completely restored."

Centennial Park was first created to hold the Centennial Exposition of 1897, a six month event that brought nearly 2 million people to Nashville. Centennial Park was not only the start of Nashville's municipal park system, but park systems across the state.