Don't Privatize Historic Fort Negley; Keep Our Public Park Public!
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Dear Mayor Barry,
Historic Fort Negley and its surroundings are Hallowed Ground, where loyal Americans, including African Americans, worked, fought and died to preserve our Nation during the Civil War. It was the centerpiece of the defense of Nashville against those who wished to perpetuate slavery and as such represents a unique piece, not only of Nashville History, but our Nation's history as a whole. Nashville Historian Stanley F. Horn described the Battle of Nashville as "the Decisive Battle of the Civil War" and Fort Negley and its surroundings played a key role in that battle.
The city has long recognized the importance of Fort Negley and its Hallowed Grounds; it was preserved from destruction in the early twentieth century and in recent years the city has made great strides in restoring the fort and its terrain after years of neglect.The 2007 supplement to the 1996 Fort Negley Master Plan specifically called for re-integrating Greer Stadium and associated property into the Fort Negley Park after the Sounds’ lease expired. But that is not what is happening. Instead of preserving and restoring this historic site, it is proposed to hand public property over to a private developer to build commercial housing and retail all over the park and permanently destroy this unique and historic site. The whole process behind this sudden change of plans for Fort Negley is unethical, unwise and perhaps even illegal.
To date, no other public park in Nashville has been handed over to private for-profit developers for commercial exploitation. This privatization of public property constitutes an extremely bad precedent, one that will open other public spaces in Nashville of lesser significance to similar exploitation and commercialization by those whose interests are solely pecuniary and not in the public interest. All previous administrations have sought to expand Nashville's green space and public parks, and this wise policy is one reason for Nashville's current popularity as a destination and as a place to live and work in. Public property should remain public and we the undersigned strongly suggest you reconsider this adverse change to city policy before it is too late.
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