NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The buffalo have returned to Nashville.
The unveiling of bronze buffalo along Dickerson Road Friday morning marked the rebirth of an area long in the making.
"This means something very special," said Metro Council member Pam Murray, who represents that area that encompasses Dickerson Road. "It's a long time coming. We're so excited, we're so happy. This is many, many years of hard work for the entire community."
At one time, Dickerson Road was thought to be one of the scourges of Nashville, rife with drug dealers and prostitutes. Not any more.
The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, along with the Tennessee Department of Transportation worked on the streetscape project with more than $1 million in federal grants.
"It's a lot cleaner, crime is down significantly, we have such community engagement over here, the businesses are engaged, all the community is engaged," said Metro Police Comm. Robert Nash said.
Murray said, "There's been an increase in the home buyers in my area, in our area, in the District Five community, which means that there's going to be better things to come."
The revitalization project is the brainchild of merchants like Michael Douglas, who got together and decided to take action and bring Dickerson Road back to life.
"I see families walking up and down the road, bicyclers, kids playing, it's great," he said.
Residents say it's the beginning of more good things to come for their neighborhood.
"I'm excited to see the infrastructure change and making the physical part better," said Marci Garner. "I can't wait for the holistic part where we even start to work to better the lives of the people who have been here for a long time."
New sidewalks, crosswalks, better lighting and "buffalo" street signs complete the Dickerson Road revitalization project.
The herd was chosen because Dickerson Road used to be the trail buffalo used to get from north of the city to the salt licks of the Cumberland River.