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Preservation group donates $9,000; warns of disappearing open space


Preservation group donates $9,000; warns of disappearing open space

The Brentwood citizen-led group dedicated to the preservation of open space donated another $9,000 toward the city’s parks department, totaling just under $110,000 since fundraising began almost four years ago.

The contribution is part of Citizens for Brentwood Green Space’s five-year goal set in 2011 to raise $300,000 through private donations to provide amenities at Smith Park.

“Our desire is to enhance the quality of life for the residents in Brentwood by promoting health and wellness through the development of passive and active parks, greenways, open space and recreational activities,” President Gil Hutchinson said.

“These funds helped Brentwood purchase the remaining 80 acres at Ravenswood Farm and add future amenities at the new Marcella Vivrette Smith Park. With this payment of $9,000, a total of $109,813 has been paid project to-date.”

The city purchased the front 320-acres of the Smith family farm, located off Split Log Road and Wilson Pike in Dec. 2010 for $10 million — the largest land purchase for the largest park in the city’s history.

CBGS pledged to help raise money when the city had an opportunity to purchase an additional 80-acres for about $3 million. That back portion of the park is loosely planned to accommodate athletic fields.

Hutchinson has said in the past that the city’s green space is disappearing at an alarming rate — as evidenced by the sale of the 256-acre Holt property on Crockett Road and a few larger tracts on Split Log Road — both to be developed as a subdivisions.

Residents are well aware of the issue as well, rating the need to preserve open space as one of the top three concerns according to the Brentwood 2020 survey. In that survey, 97 percent of citizens believed future actions to save green space is important.

However, in the past few years, it must be noted the city has added two new parks: Smith Park, as well as a 24-acre neighborhood park in south Brentwood, near Mallory Lane, long referred to as the ‘Flagpole’ property.

Now, with Brentwood approaching build-out, officials agree there are not many more opportunities for larger area parks. Any conversation about the potential for future open space seem to be surrounding the uncertainty of the Turner property along Franklin Road.

In the Brentwood 2020 survey, 34 percent of residents said they would not support the city’s purchase of the Turner property — or a portion thereof — if it required an increase to the property tax.

However, 30 percent responded they’d pay up to $100 more a year, and 22 percent said they’d pay between $100-250 annually to see the idyllic farm preserved.

The city’s 44-cents per $100 of assessed value of taxable property remains one of the lowest rates in the state of Tennessee, and has not seen an increase in the last 25 years.

Still, all that planning remains speculation as intentions for the privately held 553-acres are still unclear. The Turner family told BHP in 2010 development ideas should be expected in the next five to 10 years, making 2015 a year to look out for any project proposals.

Have a news tip or story idea? Contact Brentwood Home Page reporter Jonathan Romeo at jonathan@brentwoodhomepage.com.

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