Construction signs are gone. Fences are down and Phase Two renovations to the city’s most iconic greenspace, Centennial Park, are complete. A celebratory opening event is planned for late summer.
Metro Parks Director Monique Horton Odom said, “We know that this highly anticipated and long-awaited transformation will make a meaningful difference for the individual and collective use and enjoyment of this iconic park. The improvements made to Centennial Park are important and will help us maintain this historical greenspace for generations to come. I hope everyone will take time to visit the park and enjoy its many amenities – whether it’s the new vibrant lighting for the Parthenon or the two tree-lined walk ways bordering the Great Lawn – these transformed spaces are dynamic and adds another element to the personality of the city. I would be remiss if I did not give a hearty and heart-felt thanks to Centennial Park Conservancy, without them this project would not have been possible. They worked hard and we all appreciate it.”
Phase Two is a 19-acre zone that includes the Great Lawn, the West End entrance road, lighting and landscape improvements near the Parthenon and modifications to the landscape near the Bandshell. The Great Lawn has been re-engineered with sports field-quality turf and drainage improvements to look aesthetically pleasing and recover more quickly after big events and festivals. The lawn is flanked on each side with 20’-wide pedestrian promenades shaded by double rows of shade trees. The spaces between the trees are designed to accommodate tents and food trucks during events. Proudly standing on the east promenade is the new monument to Tennessee Women Suffragists. The West End entrance to the park has been redesigned to allocate more space to pedestrians. The update also includes new entry signage and new planting beds to showcase seasonal color with pollinator flower and shrub species.
The Centennial Park Master Plan was developed by Centennial Park Conservancy and Metro Nashville in 2010 to restore, renovate, and revitalize Nashville’s central park. Through a public-private partnership, two phases of improvements totaling $21M have already been completed and the $4M Park Plaza/Event Pavilion Phase is currently underway.
John Tumminello, president of Centennial Park Conservancy said, “Centennial Park’s revitalization is a perfect example of how public-private partnerships can benefit our community. We’re thankful to the many generous individual, corporate, and foundation partners who helped underwrite the park’s improvements and to our wonderful neighbors at HCA Healthcare for their most generous leadership gift to our capital campaign.”
Planning Director Tim Netsch stated, “Phase Two captures the heart of Centennial Park around the Great Lawn and connects the work we completed in Phase One at Cockrill Spring and at Lake Watauga. Together, these projects elevate the landscape to a design and experience worthy of Centennial’s iconic status. Tennessee Crab Orchard stone seating, over 100 new and mostly native trees, a doubling of trail mileage in the project zone, de-paving to reclaim space for vegetation, and other interventions have been transformative.”
In addition to landscape and pedestrian improvements, the Parthenon is now illuminated with a new LED lighting system. The lighting comes alive in a dramatic sequence each evening to highlight the iconic structure’s classical architectural features and sculptural details.