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36 minutes ago, Rockatansky said:

Why do you say that? OM provides the city with much more revenue.

Opryland was a destination place for Nashville, perhaps the main one for many years (in conjunction with the Grand Ole Opry). Opry Mills has always just been another mall. Theme parks are expensive to operate and always in need of topping themselves with new attractions and that was no fun for Gaylord. It was land locked which was problimatic for expansion. They really didn't grasp how many families would stop visiting Nashville after the park closed. It's loss had a significant impact on tourism. It also had a strong following of locals who'd buy passes to come in the evenings. I worked there 2 summers while in college (serving Mexican food). Based on land alone the mall may generate more revenue but not the tourists dollars. Back in the parks hayday Broadway/downtown was avoided like the plague (or COVID).

Edited by Nash_12South
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*Note: I copied the text from a post I made on another forum. Most of the commentary is not for y'all. Some of this is construction progress. Some is just miscellaneous. I wish I was half as talented

RECENTLY COMPLETED LARGE PROJECTS THIS WILL INCLUDE PROJECTS FROM THE LAST  SIX YEARS OR SO AS THIS IS PART OF THE STILL ONGOING CONSTRUCTION BOOM IN NASHVILLE. I thought I would put the lis

A slightly different view...

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Regardless of the bottom line financially, I'll always be bummed that I never got the chance to experience it. A theme park would round out our tourism offerings so well and would also be a nice way to get that adrenaline fix without having to go to Holiday World, Dollywood, King's Island, etc. 

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How would Opryland be any less of a major attraction WITH the amusement park?  I know there was plenty of land (developed and undeveloped) around that exit for many years. I also don't know how much of it Gaylord owned/owns.  I wouldn't say it 'd be easy, but Gaylord could have put the mall on one of those sites. This was where I fault them. I only went to the park once. I went there twice for a ride on General Jackson, which we had to walk somewhat around to board. So I could see lots of the park. I remember that it was a great looking park and  imagine I'd have gone there several more times when my kids were young. The park was already gone by then. 

I have a little insight on the closing of the park as I used to fly to/from Dallas out of BNA in late 1997, and sometimes I upgraded to first class (such as it was on those MD80s) on the flight with one of the McKinsey consultants advising Gaylord at the time.  I got to know him fairly well enough to ask about the Opryland closure. After a bourbon or two, he could get pretty frank (I believe he was the team leader). 

I remember several key points he made when I asked why they were going to close the park. He even showed me his slide show.... which tells me it must have been late in their work with Gaylord. 

- The company had already decided to close the park. The consultants were there to package it up and give it an air of legitimacy

- Attendance had been flat for the better part of the 1990s. Dollywood later proved how short-sighted that was. I don't recall what their compared attendance was, but I believe O'land still outdrew it at the time.

- Liability mitigation and its costs had gone through the roof. Gaylord did not see it as 'their business'. 

- Gaylord had not added any new rides to draw more guests for several years, nor did they want to. 

- There was actually an uptrend in mall construction and visits during that time (obviously before online retailing became so big). Some may recall the term "Destination Shopping". It was still during the "Big Box" wave.

- The target market for hotel guests (i.e. conventioneers) was a better fit with a shopping destination (and more revenue) than the park

Not one of his points, but it's worth remembering that the emerging attractions downtown were still a decade away. Certainly, there was no large convention center downtown.  I don't remember exactly, but Gaylord may not yet have bought the building that they replaced with the Wildhorse Saloon. I do recall that the Hard Rock Cafe was there, and seems there was more going on on Market Street.  And I don't know that they had done the second renovation of the Ryman yet. Maybe that was underway. Point is that few (if anyone) could have foreseen what Lower Broadway was going to become.  Looking back, I bet what is now called Ryman Entertainment truly regrets closing the park.

Where I find fault with Gaylord is that they could have (maybe they considered it) kept the park open but lease it to a management firm such as Six Flags. Dolly Parton struck up a similar co-ownership with the Herschends. I doubt she was entirely motivated by profit, but it's surely turned out well for her. I like her comments that she thought it'd be a 'nice thing' for her hometown. For their mall, I doubt it would have been too much of a stretch to have the state upgrade the Mcgavock exit to accommodate that on another nearby site. Aren't they involved in something there now (or was it just a proposal with Dolly)? 

That's just my retrospective take on their decision. 

 

Edited by MLBrumby
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Kind of mentioned above, why didn't they build the mall on the land owned on the other side of Briley that they were going to do Dolly's thing?  Did they own that land back then?  I could be wrong but I thought I remembered it being a significant amount more land on the east side of Briley that they own then the current site on the west side?  If so it seems they could have built the mall there, moved a majority of the parking over there too, kept the park and have expansion room using the then and current parking lot.  With some infrastructure work it being on both sides of Briley they could have kept it all as ONE attraction.  I've mentioned it here before with (I think) little love fair, if a new park was built I'd put it on Cornelia Fort.  Tons of land there, build a bridge over the Cumberland at the Opry Mills exit, maybe a sky tram from the hotel to the park and you have three to five times the land to build on than the current site.  All could haves, should haves, would haves and pie in the sky ideas I know.

Edited by L'burgnative
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18 hours ago, Salbato said:

View from Fort Negley today. 

 

 

20200926_150009.jpg

20200926_151016.jpg

 

A friend posted that she recently took her young children to Ft Negley as a get out of the house activity, but also hoping for some educational benefit.   She said the park was overgrown and in disrepair.   Metro definitely not doing any upkeep.    I’m curious to know how you found it, but from your pictures it looks to be consistent with her experience.

 

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17 minutes ago, CenterHill said:

A friend posted that she recently took her young children to Ft Negley as a get out of the house activity, but also hoping for some educational benefit.   She said the park was overgrown and in disrepair.   Metro definitely not doing any upkeep.    I’m curious to know how you found it, but from your pictures it looks to be consistent with her experience.

 

I've been going there for years just for the view of downtown. It's definitely not well taken care of. They have sheep/goats fenced off in different sections to eat the grass and brush. They are not doing much better than just having someone mow it. The boardwalk had multiple holes in it. I actually went in the visitor's center yesterday and it's nice. Metro needs to take better care of the place. 

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