Friday, January 06, 2012

Nashboro Village residents prefer to give up control of green space to private owner rather than gain more control over it through flipping it public

Several hundred Nashville Village residents showed up at a community meeting sponsored by CM Karen Johnson:

A 144-acre golf course in Nashboro Village could very soon belong to Metro government, and not everyone's happy about it. That's because the city plans to turn all 18 holes into a park.

Those who live in the area feel that purchase and transformation will destroy their property values and ruin their neighborhood.

"I bought this house 11 years ago because of the golf course over there, and I really, I don't want a park," said Gary Petersen ....

2009 golf-course crime: Nashboro Golf Club witnesses
heard 4 shots before a 21yo was found dead on the 9th hole
"This is a nice, quiet neighbor-hood," said Peterson. "I don't want it to deterior-ate, and it will,"

I live within a stone's throw of a public park, and it has had nothing but a positive impact on Salemtown. It has a playground and a community center both of which provide all sorts of leisure opportunities for all ages. The park is a popular place for walkers as it connects to the Greenway system and has scenic points with different kinds of flora. We use the park all of the time. I believe our neighborhood would deteriorate without such an open, green space available to everyone.

The whole notion that parks make neighborhoods deteriorate is not only illogical, but it is not supported by facts. It was irresponsible for NewsChannel5 to repeat an opinion about parks without fact-checking what parks have actually been found to do. Walkable open spaces enhance the real estate values of nearby development. Hence, they do generate higher revenues from property taxes. A California parks and recreation video provides details on the positive economic impact of public parks:

But public parks also create a more direct means of accountability both for neighborhood watches and for community policing. Private owners are not required to be responsive and accountable for crime that happens on their open spaces. And a private owner can eventually pursue rezoning to reduce the amount of open space rather than conserving it. Some Nashboro Villagers are touting a potential new owner; they better be careful what they wish for.

We are more vigilant of our park than we would be if it was privately owned and if we relied on someone else to watch it. Any time something suspicious happens or vandalism occurs we report it to the police and the parks department officials so that they can respond appropriately. Therefore, parks create a greater sense of community ownership and they foster personal responsibility more than a private golf course owned by someone else would. Maybe the Nashboro Villagers who oppose a public park prefer to stay out of the equation and let someone else take responsibility for green space, but I don't see how that fosters any kind of self-reliance.

My disagreement with these opponents of public open space does not mean that I believe that installing a new park is a wise idea in these lean budget times. Our park's community center hours and programs have been slashed and slashed regularly over the past half decade. We've had to suffer bored kids idling about the community and sometimes being destructive because they lack the constructive outlets that park activities provide. The Mayor's Office should not act irresponsibly by adding new staff, program, and management expenses that would further cut into the budgets of parks in other parts of Davidson County. It is one thing to argue that neighborhoods need more public open space. It is quite another to devote the resources required to manage that open space without harming other neighborhoods.

1 comment:

  1. Mike,

    I like parks, but the close neighbors who bought homes along the golf course signed a contract. Now, I don't know the details of the contract, but this should perhaps be a situation where citizens fight the private sector.

    Maybe you should dig deeper. Again, this is a strange instance of the Dean Machine cutting a deal with other Nashville elite (the ones you generally speak out against).

    However, since it has to do with "green space" (a bull shit term) you are all over it.

    Dig a little deeper, my man. And figure out whose side you are really on.