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Mayor, Community Leaders Break Ground on 28th Avenue Connector Project

5/26/2011

Groundbreaking ceremony

Student art contest winners recognized during ceremony

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean and the Department of Metro Public Works today were joined by a number of community leaders for the groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited 28th Avenue Connector project.

The Mayor included $18 million in the Fiscal Year 2011 Capital Spending Plan for the connector, which is will be a one-third mile road physically connecting 28th Avenue in North Nashville to West End with a bridge spanning the CSX railroad that runs behind Centennial Park.

“We are literally reconnecting two parts of our city that were divided over 40 years ago when the interstate was built,” Dean said. “This is a project that has been talked about in Nashville for decades, and I’m extremely proud to say that we’re done talking and we’re finally going to build it.”

Construction activities will immediately begin on the site and should take approximately 12 months to complete. Metro Public Works is overseeing the project. The department began planning for the 28th Avenue Connector in 2009 and held three community meetings at multiple locations to gather public input on the project’s design.

The connector will be a “complete street,” meaning it will incorporate infrastructure to allow for all forms of transportation with sidewalks, bike lanes and bus stops. The new thoroughfare will also include a number of sustainable features, including side plantings and a median that will serve as a rain gardens to reduce and filter stormwater runoff. The Metropolitan Arts Commission has issued a request for proposals for public art to span the bridge and accompany the bus shelters.

“This is an important complete street project that will establish new and vital connections for our citizens, as well as those who work in and visit Nashville,” said Billy Lynch, Director of Public Works.

During his remarks at today’s ceremony, Mayor Dean discussed new economic development the connector is already beginning to generate. One City, a mix-used office complex planned for 18-acres adjacent to the 28th Avenue Connector site, has already been approved by the Metro Planning Commission and the Metro Council.

Demolition work has taken place on another site fronting the connector in preparation for future development. And the Metro Council recently approved an agreement between Metro Government and HCA that will provide the Metro Public Health Department with a new headquarters facility nearby the connector on Charlotte Avenue.

“One thing is for sure – with these projects combined, in a matter of a few years, 28th and Charlotte avenues will look nothing like they do today,” Dean said. “Corridor redevelopment is a critical part of continuing our city’s growth in a sustainable way. With the right public investments, like the 28th Avenue Connector, we can create a stronger, more economically vibrant Nashville.”

Today’s groundbreaking festivities included a brief awards ceremony to recognize six students who won the “Creating Connections Art Contest” offered to children at the Hadley and Watkins community centers. As a way to engage youth from North and West Nashville in this historically significant public infrastructure project, the children were asked to paint pictures of what they envisioned the completed 28th Avenue Connector will look like and how it will improve the city.

More information about the 28th Avenue Connector, including renderings and the names and artwork of the student art contest winners, is available online.