The Metro Board of Parks and Recreation approved Tuesday the acquisition of the 132-acre Cornelia Fort Airpark in a plan to add it the adjacent Shelby Bottoms Greenway.
The $1.2 million acquisition is still contingent on the approval of the Metro Council, set to consider the purchase in the weeks ahead. William Colbert owns the land and has agreed to the sale.
“The main significance is the green space and the green space next to the Cumberland River,” said Tommy Lynch, director of the parks department. “It ensures no more development around that area.”
After combining the airpark property with Shelby Bottoms, Lynch said the size of Shelby Park will become approximately 1,000 acres, making it the fourth largest in the Metro parks systems.
Lynch said the airpark acquisition fits perfectly into the Metro Parks Master Plan and the city’s forthcoming open space plan.
Lynch has told The City Paper the department may build at the airpark site primitive trails that connect to Shelby Bottoms. He has said the property would no longer function to serve small, private planes.
Part of the park board’s agreement on Tuesday stipulates that the area retain the “Cornelia Fort” name — the “Cornelia Fort Reserves of Shelby Bottoms,” for example.