Metro nears deal to add 181-acre country club land to parks system

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 1:15pm

Metro’s Stones River Greenway could expand by 181 acres, with the city working to finalize the acquisition of the privately owned Ravenwood Country Club in Hermitage.

Jim Fyke, of the Metro Finance Department, told The City Paper Metro officials are still finishing details of a deal that would allow the club’s acreage to become part of Metro’s greenways system. He declined to say how much Metro would pay for the property but said it would come out of $5 million in funds set aside for open space acquisition.

If a deal between the club owner David Watkins and Metro is hammered out this week, the Metro Parks and Recreation Department staff is set to recommend the club’s purchase to the nine-member parks board at its Nov. 1 meeting, next Tuesday.

“They’re recommending — assuming we have a signed agreement — that we go forward with the purchase,” Fyke said. “We still haven’t settled on a final price yet.”

The acquisition –– requiring Metro Council approval –– would come seven months after Metro paid $1.2 million for the 132-acre Cornelia Fort Airpark to add to East Nashville’s Shelby Park.

In hopes of sparing land from development, Mayor Karl Dean recently launched an open space plan that carries the ambitious goal of preserving 22,000 acres of land over the next 25 years. Both purchases fall under the plan’s umbrella.

Fyke said Watkins –– who purchased the country club in 2008 –– must contractually keep the club operating through 2013. Thus, if Metro does purchase the property, it would not take ownership until that time.

“The [country club] membership is getting what they agreed to in 2008 even if we buy it,” Fyke said.

If the club is purchased, Fyke said Metro wouldn’t continue operating the club’s existing 18-hole golf course on the acreage. But he said the city would make use of the club’s swimming and tennis facilities.

“[Metro] Parks will have to adjust,” Fyke said of converting the golf course to park space, “but I think fairly quickly it could be made into quite a bit of public use.”

13 Comments on this post:

By: Carol Williams on 10/26/11 at 5:25

Another purchase adding to the understaffed overworked Metro Parks Department calls for Nashville leaders to review projects on hold due to lack of funding. Will this country club acquisition add to our park maintenance delays? The Open Space plan is great but purchasing another golf course plus a country club is another issue. Cornelia Fort is waiting for attention with numerous vacant buildings and no plan. Shelby Park is waiting for golf course and tennis court attention as well as implementation of a Master Plan now several years old. Shelby Park is also left with the Vacant Naval Building with no plan and no money. Is the park board,Metro Council, and Mayor Dean aware of all we are told cannot be completed due to lack of funding? Is there to be a country club membership covering all maintenance? The Open Space funding only takes care of land acquisition as I understand the plan.

By: bfra on 10/26/11 at 5:36

BUT! Karl always wanted to have his own "Country Club" and now he has taxpayer's money to fulfill that dream.

By: Kosh III on 10/26/11 at 6:16

Add to the list of undone stuff:
Beaman Park has been unable to get funding to build a 100ft boardwalk into the woods so that people in wheelchairs or other mobility issues will be able to enjoy nature---at least a little.
The city "can't afford" it so the Friends of Beaman has been building on it bit by bit with volunteers for over 4 years.

By: tenn.Big Dog on 10/26/11 at 6:25

Tenn. Big Dog -- Well there we have it, We don't have the money to upgrade any of the Fairgrounds that takes in a lot of money each month during the flea market and other venues, but we can buy a Golf Course for the politicians and big business executives to use.****WHEN WILL PRORITIES EVER BE RE- EVALUATED?

By: girliegirl on 10/26/11 at 6:55

"convert" a golf course? ...into a park? Really? Metro already owns the adjacent GreenWay trail at that location. I suspect this was done to rescue the owners from a debt they could not satisfy. They've been hawking those memberships for so long, most of us just ignore the pleas for membership now.

Kosh, you're right...there aren't enough funds, and if you doubt me, just ask them to purchase YOUR special park. This wreaks of cronyism.

By: Social-K on 10/26/11 at 8:25

You people amaze me. Why not be happy that Metro Parks simply increases acreage for public spaces with this purchase?

By: dustywood on 10/26/11 at 9:15

Interesting. Like me buying something in Forest Hills or Belle Meade, and then not having the funds to put furniture in it. I have an idea! There is some nice land on Glenrose Ave. that just begs to be a recreation area. All one would have to do is cross the road, over the train tracks to get to the Mill Creek greenway.

By: yucchhii on 10/26/11 at 9:22

yucchhii AGAIN: Mayor karl DINK is going to WAIST money on NEEDLESS things! He will use the excuse that the money is comming out of funds set aside for these things and that they don't have $$$ in the approriate funds to take care of the other things. Things that NEED ATTENTION: 1-Homeless people who are TRYING to get something CONSTRUCTIVE going on in their lives. 2- Roads to be taken care of APPROPRIATELY in the winter times to "PREVENT" accidents and PILEUPS! 3- SCHOOL BOOKS ETC THAT KIDS "NEED". Hmmmm, how many MORE things should I point out that mayor karl DINK "KNOWS ABOUT" that NEED attention??? How much longer will the people of nashville TOLERATE mayor DINK???

By: jambenp on 10/26/11 at 11:51

Interesting, lets run out and buy 181 acres of existing open space in a less densely populated area of the city next to already existing open space (the greenway) while recommending we plow under the 113 acres of available open space in the more densely developed fairgrounds area.
Glad the city is dedicated to providing for open space needs, but once again demonstrates the lack of thought in the Mayors Fairground proposal.
Agree with earlier post that city needs to make sure it can maintain what it has before making capital expenditures to add space and operating expense. What about better utilizing the open space around our schools first.

By: ladyday1 on 10/26/11 at 1:50

Our Mayor wins Concervation Award in the nation's capital. That's great but I think it is Ann Davis who should have gotten the award.

The Mayor, Vice Mayor, Councilman, Parks Director, Park Board and staff need to be able to take care of the land that has been in the system for years!! Downtown parks and Centennial get all the money to show tourist how environmentally friendly Nashville is. Metro has one of the smallest park systems in the country. 3% of Davidson Co is park land. Davidson Co. received a failing grade in 2010 for ozone levels and particle pollution measured in a 24 hour period per the Lung Association. We are blessed to have beautiful old parks who have their own story to tell. They are a community in the basic concept of ecology and should be protected.
Make every Metro Park vehicle free!!!! They should park on a road or hard surface.
Protect what we have before spending thousands to buy more.

By: macjedi on 10/27/11 at 7:46

I am ENDLESSLY amused at the people here who are so convinced they are right about their paranoid anti-progress sentiments who can't even write or spell. (Translation: RIGHT or SPILL, for those...)

It boggles the mind how these people even live in a city. They are, in every way, mentally unprepared for it. Guess we need just a couple more generations of curmudgeons to shuffle off. Young city, after all.

I have an addition to the Welcome to Davidson County sign: Small minds need not apply.

Better suited to Robertson County or so.

By: delltechkid on 10/27/11 at 8:12

I love to watch people who live near a park complain about how their park has a few little problems. The Hermitage area has no real park at all. The closest park is between Hermitage and Antioch. This open space purchase is the first step in creating a real park in the area on the north side of the interstate.

By: smiless on 11/9/11 at 12:37

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