The Land Trust for Tennessee, in partnership with Friends of Radnor Lake (FORL), recently added an additional 15 acres of undeveloped property on the north side of Radnor Lake State Natural Area from the family of Kay and John Cheek. This donation, added to the family’s previous donations, makes a total of 75 acres of land along the northern border of the lake that will now be protected forever on behalf of and in memory of John Hancock Cheek Jr. and John Hancock Cheek III.
According to Park Manager Steve Ward, “This acquisition is the perfect example of how we’ve been able to form successful public and private partnerships, thanks to the State of Tennessee, Friends of Radnor Lake, The Land Trust for Tennessee and private landowners like Kay and John Cheek all working together towards a common goal of protecting and preserving the natural integrity of Radnor Lake.”
The new acreage in Oak Hill, with property value among the highest in the state of Tennessee, is vital to the preservation and growth of Radnor Lake State Natural Area, with eight of the 15 acres within the watershed of Radnor Lake.
The Land Trust for Tennessee and The Friends of Radnor Lake have been working together to score major victories for Nashville thanks to funding from The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation [with assistance from The Conservation Fund].
The initial partnership resulted in the purchase of 40 additional acres for Radnor Lake State Natural Area in the spring of 2013, including the last unprotected hilltop overlooking the lake. An additional 23.5 acres was protected in the fall of 2013 along Oman Drive. These additions will add land for trails, scenic enjoyment and wildlife habitat to this treasured park, and protect more land for community use… forever. The protection of this oasis of natural resources located in the heart of the city is one example of projects we take on in urban centers across the state.
This landmark expansion preserves an iconic Nashville treasure by protecting critical natural resources. However, this success means more than environmental protection alone.
With over 1 million annual visits, many count on parks like Radnor to fit exercise into their busy schedules. Growing Nashville’s parks also promotes children’s health, as research directly links the percentage of park area in a child’s neighborhood to his or her level of physical activity and emotional well-being. Green space in Nashville and outdoor recreation across Tennessee is integral to our quality of life and is responsible, in part, for attracting tourists and businesses that boost our economy.
Adding this significant land to Radnor Lake marks a major milestone in Nashville’s Open Space Plan, aiming to create more green space in Davidson County. Between 2000 and 2012, Tennessee’s population grew by 14 percent, whereas the nation’s grew by just 10 percent. The South’s growth outpaced any other region in the U.S. (14.3 percent). Research shows that businesses consider quality of life as the main reason for choosing an area for
relocation, with park and open space the most important element of a city’s quality of life.
To balance our growing city and welcome increasing prosperity, Nashville must add urban green space and protect the places we treasure. They are integral to our love of this great city and its southern roots.
Only 3 percent of Davidson County land is currently protected as parkland, as compared to growing hubs like Austin with 16 percent of its land in parks. Since 1973, Radnor has grown from 747 to 1,339 acres counting the 78.5 acres added in 2013 + this summer of 2014.
PHOTOS BY: ROBIN CROWNOVER