The local nonprofit conservancy group Friends of Warner Parks announced Tuesday it has raised enough money to purchase 324 acres of undeveloped forest from H.G. Hill Realty.
The group needed to raise $300,000 before the end of 2009 to qualify for a matching grant from the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation. In a short e-mail sent to supporters, the group said it met that goal.
The total purchase is for an estimated $10.8 million, although the property, located in west Davidson County nine miles from downtown along highways 100 and 70, was last appraised at nearly $20 million.
The property will be turned over to Metro Parks once the purchase is complete. Metro committed $1 million to the cause about two years ago when Friends of Warner Parks was early in the process. The Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust Fund also dropped in $1.6 million.
The property, which has been in the Hill family since grocery magnate and real estate entrepreneur Horace Greeley Hill bought the property sometime before 1910, contains a large swath of old-growth forest that state Director for the Nature Conservancy Scott Davis called one of the oldest in Tennessee. In an appraisal, a Memphis forester said many of the trees on the T-shaped property are more than 200 years ago.
Warner Parks — already one of the largest municipal parks in the nation — will encompass over 3,000 acres with the most recent addition. It is currently 2,684 acres.
The Friends previously purchased, for $5.5 million, 130 acres flanking the Hill tract.