Monday, September 30, 2013

Mayor Karl Dean's new ballpark could be a threat to Germantown's historic Geist House and archeological sites at Sulphur Dell

Historic Nashville, Inc. announced its annual "Nashville Nine" at a press conference at the Frist this morning. The list represents nine historic properties threatened by demolition, neglect or development. I was not surprised at all to learn that Germantown's Geist House and Blacksmith Shop on Jefferson Street was listed among the endangered properties. It has been endangered for as long as I can remember. But what stood out was the organization's latest reason for putting the historic structures on their most endangered list:

This property has recently come under new ownership. The new owner(s) and their intentions for the property are unknown. The threat to the Geist House is elevated and significant. Beyond the evident maintenance issues and uncertainty over the future of this property, recent news reports indicate that new development including a new minor-league baseball stadium might border or encompass this site. HNI hopes that developers of the new stadium complex and those subsequently developing the surrounding areas will take into account this historic property and include these historic buildings within the new development, making use of tax credits and preservation easements to ensure the future stability of these buildings. The proposed ballpark also endangered potential prehistoric and historic archaeological sites identified by the Tennessee Division of Archaeology.

Endangered Geist & Sons buildings
Again, we cannot assume that Mayor Dean is taking any pains to protect the history of our area, because he has not bothered to share with us any plans to do so. He is pushing ahead with lobbying the State of Tennessee, and the main question between them is reportedly whether the red state will get more parking spots if they give land to Metro for a ballpark.

Growth in and of itself is not necessarily good, especially when that growth destroys historical landmarks and threatens archaeological sites.

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