Nashville’s Beaman Park would expand by 568 acres under a deal to purchase private land that Metro is close to finalizing. [Read the FULL ARTICLE IN THE TENNESSEAN from July 28, 2015] The Land Trust for Tennessee, through Jeanie Nelson and other staff members’ sustained work with landowner Harris Gilbert and his family, facilitated Metro’s placing an option on a 568-acre addition to Beaman Park only possible by the sale of this land at a price significantly below market value. A successful transaction would expand the wooded park to 2,246 acres — an increase in the current size by about one-third [For reference NYC’s Central Park is 843 acres]. This goes before both Parks board and Metro Council on August 4, 2015.
“The founder of The Land Trust for Tennessee, Jeanie Nelson, has been discussing Mr. Gilbert’s wishes for the future of this land for years,” said Liz McLaurin President of The Land Trust. “This is a great example of the public good that can result when visionary government leadership teams up with a strong non-profit in support local government’s conservation goals and priorities.”
Gilbert will donate part of his land and sell the rest for a price unheard of in this highly-valued Davidson County corridor. “It’s a beautiful piece of property,” Gilbert told The Tennessean. “The city can do more with it to be a benefit than we could. That’s just simply what it is…There’s not many spots like it left.”
The Land Trust for Tennessee has been a long time partner with the Mayor’s office on implementing the Nashville’s Open Space Plan since. It is an ongoing partnership focused on protecting open space throughout Davidson County. It is a map for the strategic conservation and creation of green spaces, by both the public and private sectors, to protect the unique landscape of Middle Tennessee. The project includes a variety of opportunities – creating neighborhood parks and gardens, conserving hillsides and private parks, and protecting farms, forests and river corridors around the urban core.
The Beaman Park addition would mark the latest major park acquisition that Mayor Karl Dean’s administration has orchestrated through a combination of private donations and purchases. “This acquisition caps off several years of major open space acquisitions that will keep thousands of acres green, preserving a critical element of the high quality of life Nashville is known for,” Dean said in a statement that thanked the Land Trust for its instrumental role in the Beaman project.
“We are thrilled to work with the Dean Administration and Mr. Gilbert on such a significant project to implement the Open Space Plan,” said Jeanie Nelson, CEO of The Land Trust for Tennessee. “Mayor Dean has kept his promise – and then some – to make Nashville a healthier, greener city and we are honored to work as a partner towards those goals.”