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July 18, 2024

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Community Expands Beloved East Nashville Park

A collaboration between multiple partners results in doubling the size of Lockeland Springs Park.

TennGreen Land Conservancy (TennGreen), the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation announced the expansion of Lockeland Springs Park, a beloved pocket park in East Nashville.

This news comes after the land was purchased through a joint fundraising effort led by Friends of Lockeland Springs, TPL and TennGreen. Now that this unique oasis has been saved from development, the property will serve as a natural open space destination for Nashvillians to enjoy the outdoors.

“Trust For Public Land was honored to play a role in this project, ensuring that a neighborhoodโ€™s dream to expand Lockeland Springs Park as a cherished community oasis is now a reality for generations to come,” said Noel Durant, Tennessee State Director of Trust for Public Land.” Nashville residents have made it clear that more high-quality, accessible parks and trails everywhere is a major part of their city’s future, and TPL stands ready to help them realize that vision.”

TennGreen Land Conservancy | LinkedIn

Photo courtesy of TennGreen Land Conservancy.

About Lockeland Springs Park

Established in 2010, this unique Metro Park is nestled in a deep, wooded valley. Its springs and sparkling stream flow year-round, attracting animals of many kinds. Deer, turkey, frogs, hawks, salamanders, turtles, woodpeckers, butterflies, crayfish, aquatic snails, owls, raccoons, foxes and chipmunks live in the valley, and this tract serves as their primary biological reserve.

Paths run through the woods along the stream, cross bridges, and lead to outdoor classroom areas. The landโ€™s varied topography โ€” stream bed, banks, undeveloped slopes and hilltops โ€” currently offers food, shelter, water and cover to numerous species of animals and plants. Renowned for its water quality by early Nashvillians, Lockeland Springs evoked the timeless importance of sheltered coves across generations.

Protection and Expansion

For many years, a family who lived out-of-state owned the adjacent property, totaling five acres of land. They wished to sell the land to developers, intending to make a subdivision of the property. This type of development would have detrimental effects on the water quality and wildlife that inhabit the land, destroying the natural values that make this pocket park unique. Over the years, the Lockeland Springs Neighborhood Association approached several conservation groups to protect the land. However, the out-of-state owners marketed the property well above the appraised value, rendering the acquisition infeasible.

In 2021, the landโ€™s owners sold it to a couple from Chicago, Illinois. Luckily, the new landowners valued conservation and public access to natural areas, having a plan to retain 1.4 acres, renovate the home on the property, and sell the remaining 3.9 acres to a conservation group. Upon learning this, the Lockeland Springs Neighborhood Association reached out to TPL, who assisted in fundraising and acquiring the land to convey to Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation Department. TennGreen also assisted the partners in fundraising and now holds a conservation easement on the propertyโ€”protecting it forever.ย 

Conservation easements are voluntary, legal agreements designed to forever protect important natural resources from detrimental land practices. By conserving a property with a conservation easement, landowners can preserve their vision for the land and shape their legacy.

โ€œConservation easements are one of the strongest tools that we can employ as conservationists to protect the natural assets on properties,” said Alice Hudson Pell, Executive Director of TennGreen Land Conservancy. “This easement ensures that the forests, waters, trails, and habitats that provide vital ecosystem services are protected from development, segmentation and degrading practices in perpetuity. TennGreen is grateful to have played such an important role in the long-term protection of this wonderful property and look forward to the publicโ€™s enjoyment of the land for generations to come.โ€

Learn more about this project at tenngreen.org.

 

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.