North Nashville’s venerable Jefferson Street is slated for a major facelift, a move that city officials and backers trust will spur continued strides along the storied street.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, speaking on Jefferson at the Interstate 40 underpass, announced Thursday plans for an extensive, multi-phased streetscape improvement project that local landscape architecture firm EDGE Planning, Landscape Architecture and Graphic Design will oversee. Called Gateway to Heritage, the multi-phased project will include new landscaping and murals. It is aimed at stimulating economic development along the busy corridor by reducing I-40’s negative impact on the district.
Former Tennessee Titan Eddie George is the president of EDGE.
“The streetscape improvement project is the definition of a community collaboration,” Dean told a crown of about 75 attendees.
No start date was announced, but officials said the effort will begin some time in 2010.
The unveiling of the specific plan comes more than one year after Gov. Phil Bredesen announced a $640,000 transportation enhancement grant. In September, Metro government selected EDGE as the project’s design consultant.
The enhancements — to be funded through the Tennessee Department of Transportation with matching funds from Metro — will run about one-half mile, spanning 28th Avenue north on the west to the Jefferson Street I-40 exit ramp on the east. As of the original announcement in 2008, TDOT had funded more than $189 million in transportation-related projects through its Enhancement Grant Program.
George said Sharon Hurt, president and CEO of JUMP (Jefferson Urban Merchants Partnership) was “persistent” in her efforts to help make the project a reality.
“I spent all night working on these drawings,” the football star turned businessman said to crowd chuckles before unveiling four images of Gateway to Heritage.