NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — To say the struggle is real is an understatement for residents and business owners down on historic 2nd Avenue. Once an eclectic mix of retail, restaurants, and residences has, for the past year, gone from a war zone to a construction zone.
Finally at the end of a very long dark tunnel, a glimmer of light. A plan to rebuild 2nd Avenue North was recently released by the city.
Betsy Williams lives in the area and is hoping to re-open her business in time for CMA Fest 2023. But the wounds on 2nd Avenue are deeper than just crumbled facades. “It was demoralizing to walk into that building and see my furniture blown up, televisions laying on the floor and all of my kitchen cabinets disintegrated,” recalled Williams.
And the waters have been choppy to navigate. According to Williams, “I just have to tell you dealing with insurance and going through the myriad of things they need and require from you and especially when most of its been blown up in a bomb…is a challenge.”
But the plan to rebuild is really taking shape and, according to architect Dave Johnston with STG Design, designers and engineers are working to preserve this historic piece of Music City. “Those buildings were built in the late 1800s and we are preserving as much of those as we can,” explained Johnston.
It has taken a massive coordinated effort to come up with a plan.
“Since February, in partnership with the Downtown Partnership, the Urban Land Institute, the Civic Design Center, and Goble Hayes, we held nine community meetings that helped build a vision and concept for this community,” explained Executive Director with Metro Planning, Lucy Kempf.
Those public meetings included some 500 Nashvillians joining the conversation and together with Nashville planners, the future is coming into focus.
“On the 2nd Avenue side, two of the four buildings we’re planning to really bring back and preserve as they were prior to the bombing, one of those buildings becomes a connector that connects the river and 1st Avenue to 2nd Avenue and the third would be equal to the other two that we have. So we will create a 4-story facade along 2nd Avenue,” said Johnston.
News 2 takes you inside the recovery of Nashville’s Historic Downtown area rocked by the bombing last Christmas. Catch special reports on 2nd Avenue Reborn all day Thursday in every newscast. And on WKRN.com.
The concept, preserve a historic past and take the opportunity to re-imagine a better future.
Perhaps Williams said it best: “You just have to build new memories, make new stories and remember the things that came before and work toward the things that are going to come after.”