Nashville is seeking community input regarding alternative ballpark locations for the Nashville Sounds ..., providing a breath of fresh air to the proceedings ....
the city is taking a more deliberative approach to the new-ballpark issue. The former Sulphur Dell site has been mentioned prominently as the potential new-ballpark site, though there are plenty of issues (parking, state of the surrounding neighborhood) with that site as well, nostalgia aside ....
Last fall the Sounds started working with University of Tennessee College of Architecture graduate students and the Nashville Civic Design Center on alternative ballpark sites. The results of that work is now on display at the Center, and officials there are hoping the proposals will spur further discussions about potential ballpark sites.
I have seen no reports of open community events sponsored by city officials soliciting community feedback.
I have seen Friends of Sulphur Dell, a coordinated, on-message group of unqualified ballpark supporters, dedicated to shaping public opinion to a new ballpark in the Bicentennial Mall area.
The Nashville Civic Design Center's event last week was more of a promotion and fundraiser for itself instead of a townhall meeting or charrette format. The NCDC displayed strictly conceptual sketches of possible ballparks not based on community feedback or planning or character, but based on ballparks in other cities and the possible views of Downtown. Even the description of "new site designs," is somewhat misleading in that it could be interpreted as something official like a proposal, when the designs are actually just an exercise in one non-profit's imagination.
If you are interested in the purely abstract, academic models with very little connection to the North End community, then the designs are being displayed at NCDC through the end of April. They say they welcome public feedback there, but I'm not sure how they are documenting and quantifying that feedback or how it will be used to eventually shape more civic planning exercises outside the non-profit sector. However, do not confuse the NCDC request for input with the report above that "Nashville is seeking community input." Nashville has not done anything on that score, yet.
I've already sent my concerns and questions in to Gary Gaston, the NCDC Director, because I'm not interested in dreaming about a ballpark until the harder questions receive their hearing in open forum. I'm also concerned that the ballpark initiative will gain enough momentum to benefit certain candidates for office and local party wonks in this election cycle without actually helping our community at all.
UPDATE: A fascinating comment below that the Nashville Civic Design Center and Friends of Sulphur Dell actually collaborated more on last week's ballpark forum than either one let on.