Locals and visitors may have a new place to walk dogs, picnic and enjoy nature once the Nashville Town Council closes on a property purchase in town.

The property the council wants to buy is actually made up of three lots at the south end of Johnson Street.

Council Vice President Jane Gore said she anticipates the closing happening this week or next. The property will cost less than $100,000, but she said she could not reveal the final price until the purchase was complete.

Gore, a real estate broker, helped put together the offer, but she is not receiving a commission from this transaction, she said.

Funding for the park can be taken out of the town’s general fund, Nashville Clerk-Treasurer Brenda Young said at the last town council meeting.

The lots contain a cabin and two trailers. Plans are to slowly remove those structures over the next year or two and strategically plant trees for more shade, council President Buzz King said.

“It won’t be instant. We don’t want to spend money, so it’s going to take a year or two to get everything wrapped up and usable. Don’t expect it to open Oct. 1 as a park,” he said.

Gore said that the council’s vision is keeping it as a green space. “We just want something for the public to just enjoy the outdoors. We don’t have any specific plans yet,” she said.

After the purchase is final, the council will start looking more into details of what they would like to see go there, Gore said.

King said the space is for the whole community.

“We’re not doing it for tourists. They’re welcome, but that’s not why we’re doing it. We’ve always needed something. Most communities all have a park from eons ago and we just don’t have it. I think this is going to be a plus for the community,” he said.

King said he would like to see the area — which is behind his house — include a path, picnic tables, a one-person restroom that would be closed during the winter and benches.

“My personal opinion is the paths would be stone or cobblestone or something and not concrete,” King said. “I am really not in favor of that (concrete) because I don’t want it to become a skate park.”

The area could also include a trash container for people who choose to walk their pets there.

“It’s not a dog park, but people are going to walk their dogs,” King said. “Pet owners in Nashville are very responsible; they pick up after their pets and we appreciate that.”

This is the second time in less than a year that establishing a new park in town has been discussed.

In October 2016, the council passed on buying a different property for an official town park — 1.75 acres at the end of South Jefferson. King said the reason the council picked the Johnson Street lots is because of the price, and because the owners of the South Jefferson property had proposed some covenant suggestions about the property’s future use.

“I think we’ve always needed a town park, but the opportunity arose when all three properties came for sale at the same time. That just doesn’t happen that often, when a parcel that big is for sale and that inexpensive,” King said about the Johnson Street lots, which span about a half-acre altogether.

No official decisions have been made, but King said the plan may be to utilize money from the Parking and Public Facilities Commission to fund the maintenance of this park and maintenance of the new Village Green all-ages play space.

“By the way, this park — we should never make this a parking lot of any kind, always a park for the people and the citizens,” King said.

Village Green play space project starting

Construction on the Village Green all-ages play space may begin this week.

It is expected to take around two weeks to finish, said Nancy Crocker, Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission president.

The town received a $50,000 grant last May to build a play space on the public restroom corner at Jefferson and Main streets.

During construction, the main entrance to the new town restrooms will be closed, but people can still enter them through the side door, Crocker said.

The A&E commission chose two local artists and a custom builder to create elements for its play space on the southwest corner of the Village Green.

Woodworker Robb Besosa, who specializes in reclaimed wood, will build game tables and seating; metal artist Brad Cox will create an “interactive border” that will also act as a barrier between the lawn and the streets and sidewalk around it; and Themed Concepts will make a play element that looks like a fallen log.

The Brown County Rotary Club also has grant money and local donations to reconstruct the old “town pump” on the same corner.

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers business, cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.