NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was a welcomed sight to many, as notable streets in the historic downtown reopened to traffic on Friday.
“It’s definitely a sigh of relief just knowing we can function having downtown still open even with second avenue with that traffic opening up we can still function 100 percent,” Zach Horn said.
Horn, a sales associate at French’s Shoes and Boots on 2nd Avenue, said it’s been a chaotic four months of recovery and readjusting.
“We’re one of the last stores on this side of second avenue that’s open,” Horn said.
French’s has started to see an uptick in business because of foot traffic recently, but Horn is looking forward to having cars access the road for customers to come in.
The Second Avenue Task Force tells News 2 that Church Street from 1st to 3rd Avenues reopened on Friday, leaving only about a block of Second Avenue still closed off to the public.
“This is kind of where we expected to be at this time, and of course with the city reopening after the pandemic, we are beginning to make some progress, but we are getting more traffic so time to get the street more open,” Project Manager Ron Gobbell said.
Gobbell said many businesses have already moved back into Second Avenue spots, but there is still plenty of work to be done for buildings closer to the explosion site.
“The business owners are going through a trauma on a trauma, the pandemic obviously affected their businesses then to have all of this suddenly dropped on them on Christmas Day is really a tragedy,” Gobbell said.
Tourists walking through the downtown area on Friday couldn’t help but notice the boarded-up windows and construction going on around them to fix up what the bombing left behind.
“It’s really nice to see everyone out and about,” Sarah Deidrick said. “It’s crazy how much they’ve already done and gotten to do.”
Metro Public Works has removed 68 tons of debris from the site in the last four months.
Gobbell said now the work is largely focused on rebuilding and getting 2nd Avenue back to what it was before.
“It’s amazing the amount of interest that we have not only from people from out of towners, but Nashvillians and the interest in seeing this area being reborn and coming back to life. And that’s one of our goals to get that happening as quickly as possible. Obviously, these buildings were extremely damaged even those that look like they are good shape, but interiors were damaged and damaged structurally in many cases,” Gobbell said.
While there’s a long road ahead, Friday’s reopening seemed to serve as a bright spot that the darkest days may be in Nashville’s rear view.