NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Metro Parks and Recreation is planning a new segment for the 440 Greenway as part of their effort to conserve green space amid Nashville’s rapid development.
“We do know there’s great development happening in Nashville and across the county, and we welcome that. But, you know, once open space is lost to development, it’s gone forever, basically,” said Metro Parks Assistant Director Cindy Harrison. “So we are trying to balance that development with conserving these green spaces for the public, and tying them together with these linear parks that are greenways.”
Harrison leads the Greenways and Open Space Division of Metro Parks. Their master plan revealed that greenways are the most requested park facility in Nashville.
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“These greenways that are urban are not only for recreation and health benefits, but for getting people from point to point so for multimodal transportation is well,” she said.
The 440 Greenway is a seven mile segment that’s done in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Harrison explained that most of it is expected to be built on TDOT right of ways.
“Ultimately, it will be part of what we have branded the city’s central greenway system, which is a 35 mile loop around the urban core with connectors that go out into the community,” said Harrison.
Phase one was completed in 2018 with a mile and a quarter greenway connecting Elmington Park to Centennial Dog Park. Now, they’re in the design phase of adding a new segment connecting Browns Creek Park to Sevier Park with Gale Lane Community Park and Greenway in between.
“Greenways are paved pathways throughout the city, they’re off street generally, we tried to be out of public right away,” she said. “So it’s low stress there for bicyclists, and pedestrians and dogs and little kids and older kids. And you know, the whole gamut, open to the public. They’re free of charge.”
Harrison explained that greenways are not traditionally lit to help conserve natural habitats. But, Metro Parks leaders are trying to keep safety in mind as well.
“We know that people are going to be on the greenway trails, especially in the urban core after dark in the winter time,” she said. “So, we’re looking at how we can continue to light the trails and do it in a way that meets the dark sky ordinance and that respects people who are close by, but allows people to get to and from safely.”
Metro Parks also works with developers with projects that are either along a planned greenway or a greenway that’s already there.
“If it’s planned, we’ve partnered with several that have actually built the greenway trails, and they’re maintaining them and in an agreement that travels with the land,” said Harrison. “So, if the property gets sold, whoever owns it next will have the same obligations, the easements that we have, or also in perpetuity, so whether we own it, or whether we have an easement, the protection is there for the public, the protection the green space.”
She says there are 100 miles of greenways currently in metro Nashville with 10 miles in development right now. This new part of the 440 Greenway is in its design phase with hopes to finish that by this summer before working on paying for it.