NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) —More than six weeks after the Christmas Day bombing on Second Avenue in downtown Nashville, a major step is being taken in the rebuilding process. On Monday, crews began to remove bricks and other salvageable pieces from buildings to properly store them until rebuilding begins.
Ron Gobbell from GHP Architecture is a longtime downtown resident who is no stranger to major Metro projects. Mayor Cooper announced Gobbell as the project lead a few weeks ago.
“It’s quite a challenge, but I’ve been working around and near 2nd Avenue for several decades and know the street well and am a big fan of the street,” Gobbell said. He lives so close to the blast site, the windows in his home were blown out that morning. Thankfully, he was out of town. “It was devastating,” Gobbell said. “It’s horrible what happened.”
Right now, his team’s focus is working with building owners and the city to stabilize the area between Commerce Street and Church Street. Then, the next three to four months will be focused on planning and public engagement.
“Each building owner is unique, each problem is unique and we’re trying to work with those and the most damaged buildings right now,” Gobbell said. “Everyone is working really well together.”
A series of public meetings in collaboration with Metro Planning, The DISTRICT, Metro Historical Commission and the Downtown Nashville Partnership will be held. Gobbell said hearing from the community is a critical part in this process.
“We are going to engage with residents on the streets those people want to get back in their homes but they also know about things that need to be improved,” Gobbell said. Then they will be speaking with building owners and the general public. “We’re anticipating starting having public engagement meetings in mid-February and continue that process in March.”
It will take until at least June or July until the vision fully comes together. He’s hoping to enhance the street and it’s buildings. “Broadway is doing phenomenally well, better than any of us could have imagined a few decades ago,” he said. “Second Avenue has the potential to be a different kind of district, but how that looks and what that looks like, this process will take us through.”