Nashville's New Island

Everyone loves riverfront property, there's just never quite enough of it. But now Nashville has a solution: Build more rivers. The city and the Army ...
by | October 18, 2006

Nashville1_4 Everyone loves riverfront property, there's just never quite enough of it. But now Nashville has a solution: Build more rivers.

The city and the Army Corps of Engineers are jointly funding a study of how to redevelop Nashville's riverfront. The plan getting the most consideration would branch a new waterway off of the Cumberland River. This would create a new 190-acre island, which would include the existing home of the Tennessee Titans, East Bank Stadium Adelphia Coliseum The Coliseum LP Field.

To be entirely honest, when I first heard about this proposal, I thought it was completely crazy -- who ever heard of a manmade island? But then it dawned on me that people have been building canals for thousands of years. What's so different about building one to put your football stadium on an island?

What might be different, though, is that this proposal is just as much about recreation as it is about economic development. Certainly, planners are crowing about the private investment the expanded riverfront could bring in, which they peg at more than $1 billion. But most of the island would be converted to parkland and there'd be a bikeway and greenway along the channel, which itself would serve as a venue for recreational watercraft.

Predictably, the city has plenty of obstacles to overcome before its new island is afloat. Land acquisition could be a challenge, as some businesses on the real estate say they don't want to leave. Concerns over the impact on existing infrastructure have already led planners to alter the proposal once. And the $390 million pricetag over 15 years is a bit daunting, with a mix of public and private funding expected if the island goes forward. 

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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