EXIT 196

Dozens of travelers leave Interstate 40 at Exit 196 everyday, some to visit friends and family, others for fuel, refreshment or lodging. They all have a story to tell and we are here to share a tale or two that we heard at Exit 196.

Last week, at Exit 196 we heard that Mayor Karl Dean and The Conservancy for the Parthenon & Centennial Park announced that Seattle based landscape architects would lead the design team for the Centennial Park Master Plan. Sylvia Rapoport, President, of The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park told us that “Mayor Dean charged the Centennial Park Master Plan Committee with one overarching purpose: to revitalize a park that is at once a prime player in Metro Nashville’s network of greenspaces while also serving as Nashville’s central park. This revitalization involves much more than a general sprucing up. The committee’s objective is a long range plan that acknowledges past and future simultaneously, respecting the tradition of Centennial Park as a showcase for Nashville’s culture, arts and history, while transforming the park into a model of sustainable ecological practice and horticultural excellence.”

The Conservancy for the Parthenon & Centennial Park was first established in 1982 as the Athena Fund. Its original purpose was to raise funds to recreate the statue of Athena, which once stood in the ancient Greek Parthenon. They later worked to gain further funding for the gilding of Athena. The Conservancy supports the Parthenon educational programs, symposia speaker series, ongoing exhibits, Greek theatre and other special projects. In 2006, The Conservancy began a cultural exchange with Greece to connect Nashville’s Parthenon with the ancient Parthenon, the New Acropolis Museum, Benaki Museum and the city of Athens. The Conservancy mission has now expanded to include a commitment to enhancing, restoring and preserving Centennial Park and it’s monuments. In 2008 the Conservancy succeeded in having Centennial Park placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

At Exit 196 we have confidence in the Conservancy’s ability to oversee the maintenance of Centennial Park’s historic integrity of and we look forward to learning more about the proposed plans to improve the sustainability of one Nashville’s greenest and historic places.

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