Nashville mayor unveils plan to revitalize downtown area after bombing

A more livable streetscape along Second Avenue will serve downtown's estimated 78,000 employees...
A more livable streetscape along Second Avenue will serve downtown's estimated 78,000 employees and 15,000 residents.
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 9:33 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Mayor John Cooper unveiled a community vision for historic downtown that includes better sidewalks and a restored tree canopy; a creative nod to local artist Phil Ponder and a vision for Second Avenue’s four hardest-hit properties.

The mayor made the announcement Tuesday morning at a meeting of the Second Avenue Task Force at Wildhorse Saloon.

Downtown residents, property owners, and supporters joined the mayor at a community event – where he honored the city’s first responders for their service nearly a year ago – as the mayor detailed his plan for Phase One of downtown’s long-term rebuild.

“Nashville quickly turned what began as a tragedy last Christmas morning into an opportunity,” Cooper said in a news release. “Our community came together, to create a shared vision for the future of our historic downtown. Generations from now, we want our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to look at what we created and say, ‘they did well.’ And that’s a destination we can only reach, all of us, working together.”

Metro Council voted Tuesday to approve the mayor’s latest capital spending plan, which includes $20 million to fund the early work of realizing the community’s vision for historic downtown.

More than 500 people, from within and beyond downtown, contributed to this vision, as the mayor’s Second Avenue Task Force, which he established days after the blast, facilitated nine community workshops between February and October 2021.

“This site is not only historic in nature but beloved by Nashvillians who live, work, and play in our downtown,” Lucy Kempf, Metro Planning Executive Director, said in a news release. “Ensuring that the designs and overall vision for rebuilding this space were truly informed by our community was a priority from Day One.”

As the city invests in a more livable streetscape along Second and First avenues, AT&T will fund a creative concept for the new nine-story façade of its telecommunications building at 185 Second Ave. N.

Four architects, Kem Hinton, Cyril Stewart, Gina Emmanuel and Ron Lustig, created the concept, which is based on Ponder’s “Market Street Too.”

The owners of 170-176 Second Ave. N. collaborated with Metro Planning and the Urban Land Institute on a vision for their properties that includes a passageway to First Avenue. A Specific Plan rezoning proposal, which would enable the plan for these properties, is currently before Metro Council.

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