NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It has been nearly one year since a Christmas Day bombing devastated the heart of downtown Nashville and a stretch of the historic street still sits fenced off.
On Wednesday, Mayor John Cooper shared plans for the future of 2nd Avenue after Metro Council approved the latest capital spending plan of $20 million to fund the early work.
“It’s very hard having disruptive change with the bombing,” explained Mayor Cooper.
2nd avenue will never be the same. The Old Spaghetti Factory and BB King’s are among those businesses that won’t return to their downtown homes.
“I do think the city is taking the challenge with the bombing and creating opportunity,” said Mayor Cooper.
As we turn the page to the next chapter, city leaders are looking to reinvigorate the heart of downtown.
“2nd avenue will have more urban activated livable streetscape,” explained Mayor Cooper.
That’s part of phase one of downtown’s long-term rebuild.
“We are going to have more activation for more buildings in the future of 2nd Avenue,” stated Mayor Cooper.
Plans include transforming the most devastated buildings into a boutique hotel with a passage to 1st Avenue. The vision paints 1st Avenue as the city’s “front porch” on the river.
“Those buildings were built in the late 1800’s and we are preserving as much of those as we can. The reality is the faces were blown off, so we are going to do as much as we can to preserve the pieces that we can find, but we can’t re-create history, we have to interpret it in a new way,” architect Dave Johnston with STG Design told News 2.
Just across the way, the nine-story AT&T facade sits burned and charred. However, it will soon pay homage to local artist Phil Ponder’s “Market Street Too,” embracing the future while honoring the area’s storied past.
“You just have to build new memories and make new stories,” said downtown business owner and resident Betsy Williams.
Mayor Cooper is focused on the opportunity that lies ahead, while saying the small miracle in all of this is no loss of innocent life, praising our first responders.
The “Nashville 6,” the Metro police officers credited for running towards the danger that Christmas morning saving countless lives, received a standing ovation at Wednesday’s press conference.
Two of the officers plan to be back on the job this Christmas, while others are taking the holiday to count their blessings with family. Officer Brenna Hosey is among them. She gets emotional recounting their actions that Christmas morning, saying it’s difficult to watch the body-camera footage.
“I’m the one screaming for James because I didn’t know if he was alive, and that 10-second period of not knowing that is still really hard, and that’s the emotional response I’ll probably always have, and I still can’t really go up there. I haven’t gotten that closure yet, but I’m hoping when everything is finished it won’t be so hard for me,” she cried.