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Skyscrapergeek

New park behind First Baptist Church?

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I just wanted to pass on some info from church this morning. During the service, our pastor Dr. Lewis, was discussing the need to address the condition of our buildings and update them for the future. One of the ideas he mentioned was converting our large parking lot into an underground garage with a park or green space above it at ground level. He said it would be a great way to invite the community onto our campus.

This is very preliminary of course but I'm very glad to hear that this is being considered.

Here is a picture of the lot.

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That's a great idea! I love to hear it when churches get involved in the community, and do things for the good of the city. And he's right. That's a great way to get people onto the church campus. Does the church own two whole blocks in SoBro?

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Are you being serious? I think this would be a great location for a CBD park and is in a great location, being right next to the GEC. There are not many parks at all downtown, and this would be a great location for one.

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To the best of my knowledge, this is what FBC owns. The church has made a commitment to stay downtown and be a part of what is happening there. Dr. Lewis is very aware of all the great new things happening in SoBro. I'm excited about it.

z.jpg

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Wow, if they did that it would be so wonderful for the developing community there as well as more parking for the GEC and church. They would have to work to keep homeless out of there, but it's a great location on Demonbreun Street.

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This church really could have a great influence on the area. It owns about three blocks in a new emergin neighborhood of downtown, and has property that lines both Broadway and Demonbreun, two major arteries of downtown. I think a park on Demonbreun Street would really put even more pedestrians there, and with the new Walk of Stars thing, Demonbreun will really be a great street. I look forward to see what he does with this land.

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Yeah franktown, I actually thought of the homeless this park might attract but I guess it would make it easier to minister to them. It would take a lot of patience, planning and security to keep it safe for everyone. I'm sure if the convention center goes in across the street the city would increase the police presence in the area and with the substation in the GEC there are already a lot of patrol cars parked next to the church.

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Gosh, guys--always having to be the naysayer is starting to wear me out. But a park on this property would be a bad idea, mostly because there is another park one block away. The minister of this downtown church is great for thinking about this--a real leader, it sounds like, and one with the Big Picture in mind--but this land needs to have buildings on it, not "green space". It needs to contribute to Demonbreun's street wall that currently opens up in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame, not provide a redundant viewing platform for the worst side of Gaylord.

The lot is so large that it does, indeed, provide wonderful opportunity for built re-development. One could, for example, put a building on the lot that lines the sidewalks on all sides, but contains within it a sizable courtyard (think the Downtown Public Library, but three or four times the scale) with fountains and tables and chairs for caf

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Wow, so you would be AGAINST someone building a park with private funds, creating greenspace in the CBD? My, my, we sure have become picky.

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Gosh, guys--always having to be the naysayer is starting to wear me out. But a park on this property would be a bad idea, mostly because there is another park one block away. The minister of this downtown church is great for thinking about this--a real leader, it sounds like, and one with the Big Picture in mind--but this land needs to have buildings on it, not "green space". It needs to contribute to Demonbreun's street wall that currently opens up in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame, not provide a redundant viewing platform for the worst side of Gaylord.

The lot is so large that it does, indeed, provide wonderful opportunity for built re-development. One could, for example, put a building on the lot that lines the sidewalks on all sides, but contains within it a sizable courtyard (think the Downtown Public Library, but three or four times the scale) with fountains and tables and chairs for caf

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Wow, so you would be AGAINST someone building a park with private funds, creating greenspace in the CBD? My, my, we sure have become picky.

"Green space" is not necessarily a good thing just because it is "green" and "space". If the whole city was "green space", it would be called a "field". If half of the city was "green space", it would be called a "subdivision". For "green space" and "open space" to have any meaning in an urban context, it must be enclosed and surrounded by living edges. Large parks are an exception to this, but I don't think the property in question could muster something like that because it is too small. Nashville needs, above all else, better buildings--it is definitely not lacking in "space", meaningful or otherwise.

The only reason I am saying this that there is an "open green space" one block away from this lot. Because of this hard fact, there are better uses for the land in question. Re-read my post with an open mind and you will see that there are some wonderful opportunities there which would include both architecture and internalized public spaces that would not knock a tooth out of Demonbreun's smile, or add wasteful "room" to a neighborhood already being served by a large park a single small block away. Kisses!

I definately see where you come from. Although I think a park would be fine, you can somehow always drag me in with your ideas. I really like the idea of maybe having say a six story building draw a square around the block, with little covered areas as entrances to a large courtyard with stores and cafes lining the perimeter. In the inside, though, could be a large greenspace with trees and benches and stuff. I think I like my idea the best.

Your idea is very good!

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I am gonna agree with NewTowner on this. This is a piece of property that needs a revenue producing building on it. Not a public space like a park. While I like parks and all, that land is far more valuable than just using it as a park.

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"Green space" is not necessarily a good thing just because it is "green" and "space". If the whole city was "green space", it would be called a "field". If half of the city was "green space", it would be called a "subdivision". For "green space" and "open space" to have any meaning in an urban context, it must be enclosed and surrounded by living edges. Large parks are an exception to this, but I don't think the property in question could muster something like that because it is too small. Nashville needs, above all else, better buildings--it is definitely not lacking in "space", meaningful or otherwise.

The only reason I am saying this that there is an "open green space" one block away from this lot. Because of this hard fact, there are better uses for the land in question. Re-read my post with an open mind and you will see that there are some wonderful opportunities there which would include both architecture and internalized public spaces that would not knock a tooth out of Demonbreun's smile, or add wasteful "room" to a neighborhood already being served by a large park a single small block away. Kisses!

Your idea is very good!

OK, you do have a point. It sounds good, but.....you're right, not there.

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I almost didn't post this info because I was afraid it would generate a discussion/debate about the "best" use for this property. This land doesn't need to be anything. If the church decides to do nothing at all it will remain a surface lot. Everyone is always complaining about the lack of parks DT but when someone suggests they might provide one, privately funded, then it's not good enough or is in the wrong place. This urban idealism is getting a bit scary. I'm OK with wishful thinking but in this case it will be a huge waste of time.

NT, I appreciate your enthusiasm but the "hard fact" is that it doesn't matter if there is green space a block away. The church will decide what is the "best use for the land in question." There is really no need to debate the question at all. The city will have no say in this matter.

And just to be clear, Dr. Lewis is not a crusader for the urban environment. The big picture he sees is not one of a human-scale as we relate to buildings but of one as we relate to God, His grace and each other.

I don't mean to be harsh at all so forgive me if it comes across that way. I just don't understand why a good thing is so quickly dismissed. This is a gift horse. Why look it in the mouth? I am thrilled that my church would even entertain this idea, which is only that at this point.

Oh, and there's one thing I left out before. They even mentioned putting a prayer garden in the park. Imagine that, a church with a prayer garden.

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Yeah, he's right. Face it. The church isn't going to sell the land for someone to develop it. Having a park there is a wonderful idea for the church, and it really is a great sign the church is even looking into it. If you can, I would definately talk to your pastor, skyscrapergeek. He wouldn't go through with this if he doesn't think he has support from his congregation.

We can always have our little plaza on of the ten million other vacant lots in SoBro.

Oh, and I think that prayer garden idea would be cool. I'd be interested to see how they would make that work in the middle of a crazy, loud downtown.

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Thanks cheeriokid. I have no doubt that the congregation would support it. It sounds like we're on the verge of a somewhat large capital campaign in the next year or two. Though nothing is certain, I like the positive thinking going on. We could really use some nice green space around the church for activities.

As for a prayer garden in the middle of DT? We'll just have to pray really, really loudly. :D

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I almost didn't post this info because I was afraid it would generate a discussion/debate about the "best" use for this property. This land doesn't need to be anything. If the church decides to do nothing at all it will remain a surface lot. Everyone is always complaining about the lack of parks DT but when someone suggests they might provide one, privately funded, then it's not good enough or is in the wrong place. This urban idealism is getting a bit scary. I'm OK with wishful thinking but in this case it will be a huge waste of time.

NT, I appreciate your enthusiasm but the "hard fact" is that it doesn't matter if there is green space a block away. The church will decide what is the "best use for the land in question." There is really no need to debate the question at all. The city will have no say in this matter.

And just to be clear, Dr. Lewis is not a crusader for the urban environment. The big picture he sees is not one of a human-scale as we relate to buildings but of one as we relate to God, His grace and each other.

I don't mean to be harsh at all so forgive me if it comes across that way. I just don't understand why a good thing is so quickly dismissed. This is a gift horse. Why look it in the mouth? I am thrilled that my church would even entertain this idea, which is only that at this point.

Oh, and there's one thing I left out before. They even mentioned putting a prayer garden in the park. Imagine that, a church with a prayer garden.

Wow! I am always surprised at the lightning quickness with which anger can flare up. Americans and their tempers! SkyscraperGeek, you are a nice guy and I don't want to fight you. Your frustrated defensiveness is unnecessary to the x-treme--everyone has only said really sweet things about your pastor, and nobody is trying to take the land away from your church. Why would you object to the discussion of downtown land use on a website called "Urban Planet"? Holding a conversation about what could be a really smart or a really stupid way to use lots and lots of downtown land is not anywhere near to infringing on your church's rights to make a good decision or a bad one. It's just discussion. Nobody is suggesting that the first and last development decisions lay in anyone's hands other than those of the landowner in question...which is namely your church, as we all know without question or doubt. I am not a communist. I am not an anti-cleric Modernist. This is all just a little friendly discussion. Friendly...yes...friends...

As far as all that awful "urban idealism" getting under your collar lately--what would you prefer...urban sadness and pessimism? Why shouldn't we "shoot for the sky" (there's one for you, Geek!) when discussing our city? I really don't think you mean to say that optimism and happiness are dumb, because five minutes after laying into me you wrote...

Though nothing is certain, I like the positive thinking going on.

Frankly, I think your defensive post was preceded by some ass-umptions about me and my motives for responding to the "green space" party. Do you imagine that I hold you or your Faith in contempt? It is ironic, but my beliefs regarding architecture are not only compatible with spiritual land use--they are founded upon it! The only ultimate justification I can provide for pursuing a human-scaled urbanism, aside from common sense, is that found in my belief that the world was created by God, and that He made us li'l peeps the way He did On Purpose. There is a Christian consideration of urban design (every heard of The City of God or the Renaissance?), and it is very old, and very deep. It will be interesting to see how your particular congregation chooses to contribute to their town (or not to), and if they will bother to consult the cumulative wisdom of thousands of Believers who came before them and wrote some pretty sweet stuff on the subject. As a potential member of your church, I will be watching with both "optimism" and "idealism", thanks to my Faith, and I hope you don't turn me away at your "prayer garden" just because I believe God probably likes mid-rise.

(And where in the Christian texts does green space acquire authority? Gosh...sounds to me like this subject is debatable, even among fellow Believers. Maybe we should open a conversation on Urban Planet about it!)

Regardless, please cool the jets. I like you. Accept it. It just gets way too spicy in here!

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Quality green space is as important to the urban landscape as buildings are. This is a perfect location for a park. It mirrors the green space on the other side of Gaylord nicely. Besides, lets face it...that green space in question really isn't a "PARK".

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I agree that greenspace is just as important....especially with some of the air quality problems that Nashville has.

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I personally think that anyone should be happy about this. This church owns 3, tax free, city blocks in downtown which it will NEVER sell. Therefore, serious development will probably never happen on this sight. Really, church leaders may indeed help the morals of a community, but visionaries, they are not. I think that anything but a surface lot might be the best we can hope for.

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I am dismayed by the lack of appreciation displayed by some posters. This is a non-profit entitiy basically taxing it's members to create a public green space and contribte to the SoBro fabric. This is exactly the type of overture that Nashville should embrace.

No Public Money, large public benefit...'nuff said.

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SSG, about 2 1/2 hours after NT's earlier post: "I'm OK with wishful thinking (...) I appreciate your enthusiasm (...) I don't mean to be harsh at all so forgive me if it comes across that way."

Wow! I am always surprised at the lightning quickness with which anger can flare up. Americans and their tempers! (...) frustrated defensiveness is unnecessary to the x-treme (...) Frankly, I think your defensive post was preceded by some ass-umptions (...) Do you imagine that I hold you or your Faith in contempt? (...) I hope you don't turn me away at your "prayer garden" (...) Regardless, please cool the jets. (...) It just gets way too spicy in here!

One thing I've noticed about reading anything on the Internet is that the words themselves are really the only true indicators of meaning. Detecting attitude can be extremely hit or miss--if you're imagining inflection, you're probably wrong.

As for the merits of the discussion...

NT: "Nobody is suggesting that the first and last development decisions lay in anyone's hands other than those of the landowner in question..." (emphasis added)

That depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.

:ph34r:

Some people (not you, NT--I take you at your word that you're not a Communist) want to shred the Establishment Clause and take away the tax exempt status of churches. Others want to expand governmental takings to include private property from one person to another so long as the promised result is the enlargement of the municipal or state tax base. (Even Lexy started to swerve into that in his post, I hope unintentionally..."This is a piece of property that needs a revenue producing building on it.")

I'd say there is a track record of discussions about other projects on UP that indicates a clear willingness on the part of some people to subordinate the decisionmaking prerogative of landowners to the collective :sick: will of others, when it comes to how "best use" is determined and carried out.

I read Geek's post as matter-of-fact, not defensive. Certainly not angry, x-treme frustrated-defensive, overheated or remotely spicy.

But if open discussion is what we're promoting (as it should be) then there should be plenty of room to get matter-of-fact defensive when phrases come up like "wonderful opportunity for built re-development", which translates this way, from many dialects of the politically correct: "here comes the collective judgment about your private property--and don't be afraid--although many of us are willing to use any legal means we can find to subordinate your judgment to our own, we promise this will be entirely walkable and it won't hurt our city one bit. In fact, the ACLU and the 9th Circuit have promised us that you have as much a right to enjoy it as we do".

:ph34r:

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