Historic Jefferson Street to be met with new park in an effort to preserve history

Nashville 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It was the Music Row of the 1940s and 50s, home of live music venues and recording studios that made many dreams come true.

For years, the area had it all.

But many say the construction of Interstate 40 across the street led to its economic decline.

Now, an important part of Nashville’s history will soon be met with a new park, a place many hopes will bring the area back to life.

Thursday, the park soon-to-be near 16th Street was named in honor of one of the city’s most well-known entrepreneurs, Kossie Gardner Senior, an influential African-American businessman who operated a thriving funeral home for 70 years. His business just feet away from the park.

“This is a space that we hope will be just as vibrant as Jefferson Street was in the 30s and 40s,” Metro Parks Director, Monique Odom said.

Several Metro departments collaborated to make this space a recreational option for both old and new residents —designed as a space to accommodate events, music, and other outdoor activities.

Dr. Amos Jones Jr., a friend of Gardner, hopes the park will be a spot where Nashvillians can engage in history, culture, and community.

“Nashville is booming but Jefferson Street is not keeping up with the booming of Nashville,” Jones Jr said.

Phase One of the project, which includes the construction of the green space, play equipment, plaza space, and a mural wall, was funded by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency through a community development grant.

“It’ll (the park) help,” Jones Jr said. “I think it’s an honor to look at the life of a person like Kossie Gardner and elevate him he was a great man.”

Phase One should be completed by late Spring to early Summer of this year. 

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