Oakwood Park. It's About Respect.

Oakwood Park. It's About Respect.


Remarks by Councilmember Nancy VanReece from the Oakwood Park Ribbon Cutting, April 13, 2019

Many of you here today have grown up with Oakwood Park, but I didn’t learn about it until the summer of 2011.

I learned that the district that I planned to represent, contained a hilly, 26-acre park with what’s perhaps the city’s most majestic view of downtown Nashville.

Unfortunately, its reputation didn’t end there. My research into Oakwood turned up a review from the Nashville Scene, which contained this memorable description: “We all stood in the Oakwood playground, looking up into the wooded area, and were convinced we were seeing possibly the most unsafe park in Nashville — two paltry swings, a strange elevated pyramid, and a crumbling basketball court, with plenty of places for you to be out of sight if you fell and therefore plenty of places for bad folks to be unseen.”

When I was elected in 2015, I was determined to work with all of you to change that reputation and make Oakwood Park the gem it could be. 

As I began meeting with the neighbors about park improvements. It was clear, after four community meetings, that the original idea to enhance access to the top of the hill and a possible dog park, would need to be in Phase 2.  Phase 1, which we celebrate the completion of today is built for people, for families.

I want to thank the mountain bikers from SORBA of Middle TN whose diligence to preserve trails may have actually saved this park from extinction.  A primitive trail was blazed on the eastern slope to the top of the hill where it ties to one of those existing trails that wraps back down on the west creating a one mile loop for bikers, pedestrians, and yes, dogs (on a leash).

The basketball courts have always been used and they will continue to be.  I want to thank the newly formed Friends of Oakwood Park whose first project will be to continue enhancements to the basketball courts.

We kept the park layout so that you who live here can simply walk over from your homes and start enjoying it, which is what I’m sure all of you will do.  But this work isn’t just helping those of you who live here. The construction agreement for this city project went to a local, minority-owned business.   I want to acknowledge and thank Janet Shands and Pearl Sims from Mutual Contractors for making this park a true destination. In particular, thank you for your work with Tim Netsch and Mark Bradfield of Nashville Parks to save what may be one of the most beautiful collections of natural hardwood forest in the urban core.

But, this work is not just about green space, this is about respect.  The Shephardwood communities surrounding this park have been as forgotten as the park.  It has been my pleasure to  influence  public investment in this place called home.  Now the children that live on Bethwood can walk safely through the park to catch the school bus on Oakwood.  The WeGo bus stop on Oakwood can bring friends to play basketball with after school.

You may have noticed the new, large development in neighboring District 5 bringing hundreds of new families workforce and affordable housing that will also have this amazing park to enjoy.  This balance of mixed income housing is imperative as we work to slow gentrification every time we make an investment for the people that already live here.

The city and I plan to keep improving Oakwood Park in future years. And who knows? Maybe someday we will see that Phase 2 funded to enhance the access to the top of this beautiful protected landscape.

I am overwhelmed by what we have all built together here.

Let’s take care of it,

Let’s use it, 

Let’s respect it, 

Let’s claim Oakwood Park as part of our beautiful city,  at last.

Photos: Chad McClarnon

featured: Councilmember Nancy VanReece, Mayor David Briley, Nashville Metro Parks Director, Monique Odom, Commander Imoff, East Nashville Police Precinct, Shephardwood Neighbors and Friends of Oakwood Park.


Share your Voice - Next is Now

Share your Voice - Next is Now

The most asked question I have received has been overwhelming "How do we extend the line from Briley Parkway to Old Hickory Blvd?"  My response is this, "Let's give them a reason to do so."

Nashville Nine 2016

Nashville Nine 2016

I am happy indeed to see the Madison Bowl property and the Star-Day King Studios in District 8's Madison, have been added to the Historic Nashviile, Inc's Nashville Nine list for 2016.  I hope that the energy about their stories will  bring restoration and attention to  their part in the Madtown/Madison renaissance.

The Renaissance

The Renaissance

Momentum is building in Madison.  Can you feel it?  Madtown moves me. With the late JD Elliot's inspirational challenge to "get all together on this" a roundtable of community leaders has been gathering to make sure that all opportunities are explored and all momentum is fanned with respect. The work of Randall Gross is now entering its 6th month and I’m confident that this strategic planning effort will move Madison forward. The Mayor's office of Economic and Community Development is highly engaged as is the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

Most of Madison will pay lower property tax rates after the reappraisal

Most of Madison will pay lower property tax rates after the reappraisal


Good news, most of our property tax rates are expected to go down in Madison at very much the same rate of any increase that would happen with the USD so we are not expected to pay a higher rate.

The Domino Effect

The Domino Effect

UPDATE May 16, 2016: The Neely's Bend / Amqui Station Blvd six million dollar investment is in the spending plan. Join me in thanking Mayor Barry and encouraging Metro Council's Support

Amqui Station Blvd. at Gallatin Pike

We've all seen them, those videos of teams of people working hours and hours to set up elaborate domino patterns.  The ultimate goal is to set something into motion.  With Mayor Barry's new Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) proposed for Nashville Metro Council's review, the domino pattern is ready for launch.  There is a $6 million dollar Public Works project for Madison that has been well over ten years in the making.

The Neely's Bend Road /Amqui Station Blvd extension from Neely's Bend through to Madison Street and the complete streetscaping for what is known as "downtown Madison" to Old Hickory Blvd. has been something that the communities of both District 7, 8 and 9 have asked for.

The Nashville Next plan placed the area squarely into a Tier One development support. The dedication of the owners of the properties of Madison Square Shopping, the Madison/Rivergate Chamber and tenacity, along with countless hours of domino-setting, is about to result in a beautiful chain reaction of development happening  for us and not just to us.

We'll be working diligently to  keep this in the budget and get the community involved in this project as soon as it is approved and content is prepared for feedback.  I know you want more information, I do too! It's coming soon.  There will be a month for the reviews to take place. Please encourage all the Metro Council members to support this investment.

Oakwood Park

Metro Parks has successfully requested $969k for a major improvement to Oakwood Park. Oakwood is the only park in District 8 and its neglect has finally been recognized.  With more residential development coming to the area, there is even more reason to support this as a destination park with an amazing view of the downtown skyline that sits just off Ellington Parkway between Trinity Lane and Hart Lane. If the budget is approved, the community will have a major say in the direction of the improvements which could include: a road the top of the hill, lighting,  playground, dog park, band shell, dirt bike trails, hiking trails, the resurfacing of the basketball courts and more.  Please encourage all the Metro Council members to support this investment.

Please keep in mind that this is purely conceptual for budgeting purposes only.  No design has occurred.  Should funding be allocated, we would include the community in any planning process.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PROPOSAL

I will continue to work hard on the many projects happening around District 8 and rely on your feedback along the way.

 Click here to see the District 8 CIB Projects




It is important that this development happens FOR us and not  TO us.  I've met with several eager businesses and developers that are interested and curious about this potential.