Archaeology Report Issued for Greer Stadium Shows Possible Graves
Cloud Hill Partnership withdraws their proposal for redevelopment; Mayor Barry looks to reassess plans for site awaiting further community engagement
Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research (TVAR) has released a final report on their survey of the Greer Stadium parcel under consideration for a private-public development. The survey shows that there are areas along the periphery of the property that have undisturbed soils. Combined with the historical record indicating that impressed slaves were likely buried in these areas during the construction of Fort Negley, it is highly likely that human remains are still present in these areas.
In a statement issued today, the Cloud Hill Partnership announced their intention to withdraw their proposal for a private-public development at Greer Stadium due to several issues with the location, including the uncertainty based on the archaeology.
Mayor Megan Barry lauded the Cloud Hill Partnership for their willingness and desire to answer the city’s call for proposals to reimagine this underutilized property, using private dollars to meet the community’s needs.
“Nearly a year ago, the city of Nashville asked the community to present their best ideas and vision for how to use the Greer Stadium site in a way that would address many of the needs of our community, such as active park space, greenways, affordable housing, artist and creative maker space, and more,” said Mayor Barry. “The Cloud Hill Partnership put forward a wonderful proposal that even critics thought would be a welcome addition to the community, if perhaps at another site. I regret that we will not be able to move forward with this project, but I want to thank them for stepping up and helping us see what a sustainable, responsible, and equitable development could look like on this land.”
In their report, TVAR recommends “that a portion of the project area be protected, with no land alterations taking place. It is suggested that this portion be reintegrated into Fort Negley Park.” Their interpretations and conclusions from the research can be found on pages 109 and 110 of the report.
“The likelihood of graves means that we should reassess plans for this site so as to better honor and preserve the history of the men and women who died in the construction of a fort that helped save the Union,” said Mayor Barry. “As we move forward, I want to see that whatever happens with the Greer Stadium site will honor that history, while bringing the community together around a shared vision. I have faith in the ability of all stakeholders to work together to identify and coalesce around this vision.”
As a result of this decision, the original procurement process and RFQ have been cancelled. Unless or until proper plans and approvals are made for alternative visions for this site, no park construction or demolition will take place on the Greer Stadium parcel – which is a Metro Parks property - adjacent to Fort Negley.
Background on Greer Stadium Redevelopment
In late 2016, the Parks Department, Planning Department, and District 17 Councilmember Colby Sledge held a series of community engagement meetings to discuss the future of the unused Greer Stadium property following construction of a new Nashville Sounds baseball stadium at the historic Sulphur Dell site. The result of this process was a Request for Quotations (RFQ) to solicit proposals from the private sector for a private-public partnership that would include public park space, affordable housing, and maker space while honoring and protecting historic Fort Negley Park adjacent to Greer Stadium. In May of 2017, the Cloud Hill Partnership, a group consisting of artist and producer T Bone Burnett, investor Tom Middleton, and the Mathews Company, among others, was issued an Intent to Award following the decision of a review panel consisting of government experts and community leaders. That procurement process was placed on hold for numerous months as a result of an appeal by one of the RFQ offerors, which was subsequently dismissed. In late 2017, Mayor Barry’s administration announced they would be seeking an independent archaeological review to answer questions related to possible burial remains on the site before moving forward with any redevelopment proposal.