The Park at Fort Negley
Mayor Megan Barry's administration intends to award a for-profit developer the right to build condos and office space on Nashville's Fort Negley Park.
This development would permanently destroy 21 acres of parkland in Nashville's urban core, where greenspace is dwindling because of boom-time development.
What's at stake?
Mayor Barry's administration's development plan raises four serious problems.
01. Save our Parks
If we destroy Fort Negley Park to build condos and offices, then no parkland in Nashville is safe.
Downtown is already starved for greenspace.
02. preserve history
Fort Negley is a nationally recognized Civil War Heritage site.
In 1862, hundreds of African Americans, former slaves and freedmen, worked and died here building the Union fort, the largest inland masonry fort constructed during the War.
Historians believe many unmarked graves remain.
03. Fix the process
Mayor Barry's administration chose the for-profit developer through a closed-door process.
They never considered leaving Fort Negley Park a park.
04. Find the graves
Metro Council has already allocated funding for a Fort Negley Park Cultural Survey to locate the unmarked African American graves and explore the Park's historical significance.
This survey should not be rushed in Nashville's race to convert this Park to condos.
Reflection pool and historic amphitheater
Treasure our heroes. Don't build on their graves.
In August 1862, the Union Army began “impressing” thousands of African Americans to mine, cut, and lay the limestone walls of Fort Negley. Abolitionist George Luther Stearns wrote, "These men working in the heat of the autumn months, lying on the hillside at night in the heavy dews without shelter, and fed with poor food, soon sickened. In four months about eight hundred of them died; the remainder were kept at work from six to fifteen months without pay."
– Zada Law's letter to Mayor Megan Barry, March 23, 2017
Experts weigh in:
"Given all that is at stake for the African American community only a deliberate and transparent process can hope to weigh the significance of this heritage site against the urge to develop it."
Nashville Scene | October 18, 2017
But if there’s one thing we should learn from the Fort Negley Park debacle, it’s that even if the city promises these are just leases, and the land will return to open space for the whole neighborhood, apparently we can’t trust that.
The Tennessean | October 12, 2017
Nashville's Fort Negley is drawing attention from another national organization, this time by a group that celebrates cultural landscapes across the U.S., as historic preservationists fight a controversial mixed-use development near the Civil War-era fort called Cloud Hill.
Nashville Scene | August 28, 2017
"My gravest concern about the Cloud Hill proposal is that it continues our grand tradition of lying to ourselves in order to not have to see what we’re truly proposing. There is no “Greer Stadium site” that is separate from Fort Negley Park. That is and always has been parkland."