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Mayor Dean and Land Trust for Tennessee Release Open Space Plan

April 14, 2011 | Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County | Nashville, TN
Mayor Dean and Land Trust for Tennessee Release Open Space Plan

Photo by Metropolitan Government of Nashville,Gary Layda


Contact: Janel Lacy
(615) 862-6020 |




Model Plan Calls for Preservation of 22,000 Acres in Davidson County


NASHVILLE, TN -- Mayor Karl Dean today was joined by Jeanie Nelson, President and Executive Director of The Land Trust for Tennessee, in unveiling Nashville‟s first comprehensive Open Space Plan. Calling for the preservation of 22,000 acres of public and private land over the next 25 years, the plan represents the culmination of a year-long process including public meetings and input from hundreds of citizens and organizations.

The creation and implementation of the most progressive open space plan in the Southeast was a top recommendation from the Mayor‟s Green Ribbon Committee on Environmental Sustainability, and the Mayor‟s Office formed a private-public partnership with The Land Trust for Tennessee – with financial support from the Martin Foundation – to carry out that recommendation.

“I‟ve said from the beginning that „it‟s all connected.‟ In this case, our city‟s landscape directly affects our citizens‟ health, safety and general quality of life,” Mayor Dean said. “This visionary plan recognizes the importance of not only protecting open space, but doing so in a strategic way that connects existing parks and greenways, addresses flood issues and allows for smart development and growth in the future.

“The partnership we formed with The Land Trust for Tennessee to develop this plan sets the stage for the public-private effort that we are committed to going forward to carry out this vision.”

Four Corners, Nine Bends and a Heart of Green

Spanning “four corners, nine bends and a heart of green,” the Open Space Master Plan envisions four large preserves in each quadrant of the county, protected land in each of the Cumberland River‟s nine bends, and a thriving, green downtown. The 22,000 acres of protected land includes:

  • Adding 3,000 acres of parkland in the next 10 years – an overall increase of 30 percent – and another 3,000 acres by 2035.
  • Privately conserving at least 3,000 acres of land in the next 10 years, and another 3,000 acres by 2035.
  • Protecting an additional 10,000 acres of floodplain and other sensitive natural areas in the next 10 years.

“Our community puts much effort into planning for development and growth. The Open Space Master Plan is the next step in ensuring that we‟re planning for conservation – through both public and private investments – in the same ways that we plan for development,” Jeanie Nelson said.


Preserving Historic Open Space: Cornelia Fort Airpark

In order to begin moving forward on implementing the Open Space Plan immediately upon its completion, Mayor Dean included $5 million in last year‟s capital spending plan for an Open Space Fund. Today Mayor Dean announced that Cornelia Fort Airpark in East Nashville will be the first land acquisition using resources from the fund, pending approval by the Metro Council.

The Land Trust for Tennessee is leading the private fundraising campaign associated with the Open Space Master Plan which kicks off with the purchase of the Cornelia Fort Airpark property. These funds will leverage the support provided by the Open Space Fund. If acquired, Cornelia Fort, which was inundated in the May 2010 flood, will expand Shelby Park and Shelby Bottoms Greenway by 135 acres.

“The acquisition of the Cornelia Fort property dovetails perfectly with the goals of the Open Space Plan: protecting floodplains, adding parkland, connecting to existing open space and greenways, and preserving historical properties,” Dean said.

During the planning process for the Open Space Plan, called Nashville: Naturally, a 31-member advisory committee comprising key organizations and government agencies met monthly and provided high-level guidance. The Mayor‟s Office and The Land Trust for Tennessee contracted with the following consultants for assistance during various stages of the planning process: The Conservation Fund, Hawkins Partners, ACP Visioning +Planning, and Clarion Associates. Public input was solicited through an official blog, focus groups and three public forums. Feedback collected from the public fell under four priority themes:

  • Connect wildlife and water networks
  • Support urban and rural farming
  • Connect people to green infrastructure
  • Preserve historic and iconic resources

“The release of the plan is an invitation for every Nashvillian to get involved according to his or her interests, and The Land Trust for Tennessee is calling this community to action. From planting a tree along a stream to starting an urban garden, to donating funds or a conservation easement, it all adds up to a healthier, better-connected Nashville,” Nelson said.

For more information about the Open Space Master Plan and to get involved, visit

About The Land Trust for Tennessee

The mission of the Land Trust for Tennessee is to preserve the unique character of Tennessee‟s natural and historic landscapes and sites for future generations. We work statewide to protect our river corridors, wildlife habitats, agricultural lands, historic and scenic sites, and urban open spaces. Our work has conserved signature places including Fiery Gizzard, Mayfield Farm, the gateways to Leipers Fork, and historic Glen Leven, as well as thousands of acres of family farms throughout the state. For more information call Audra Ladd (615) 244-5263,


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