Mayor Karl Dean and a host of other elected officials joined several state and local agencies, the Jefferson United Merchants Partnership (JUMP) and representatives from Tennessee State University for a community celebration on Friday, September 28th, 2012, to unveil Gateway to Heritage. In addition to musical performances by the Pearl Cohn High School Band and Nick Nixon, the event also included "A Taste of Jefferson Street" vendor fair.
Gateway to Heritage Plaza is a true creative collaboration between public and private sectors to celebrate and revitalize North Nashville. The goal is to re–energize Nashville’s historic Jefferson Street and turn what was once a public eyesore into a pedestrian plaza of community pride and history for both residents and visitors.
The project transforms the I–40 interstate underpass that separated the North Nashville Community into a plaza that commemorates the African American history of Nashville and Jefferson Street in the areas of Athletics, Civil Rights, Education, Music and Religion.
A variety of projects are underway along the Jefferson Street Corridor as a multi–phase initiative to provide updated pedestrian amenities and create new economic development opportunity in North Nashville. In addition to the Gateway to Heritage Plaza at the intersection of Jefferson and Interstate 40, vehicular and pedestrian improvements are planned at key intersections and along the length of Jefferson Street between Rosa Parks Boulevard and 28th Avenue.
Phase I of Gateway to Heritage Plaza is supported through a federally–funded enhancement grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation with matching funds from Metro Government. Funding for streetscape amenities and intersection upgrades are being provided by the Federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), MDHA and Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), respectively.