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Press Release for Cockrill Spring Daylighting



Centennial Park's Cockrill Spring Sees Daylight After More Than a Century Underground

Mayor, Metro Parks mark start of construction for new pedestrian entrance of park showcasing restored spring as prominent interactive water feature

Nashville, Tenn. (August 8, 2014) - After more than a century underground, construction has begun to "daylight" the historic Cockrill Spring at Centennial Park. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean today was joined by leaders at Metro Parks and The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park to remove the cover at the base of Cockrill Spring to officially mark the beginning of the construction project.

The unearthed spring will be a prominent feature of a new pedestrian entrance into the park at West End Avenue near 27th Avenue North, where it will surface and spill into a meandering rill - a stone-lined channel - before sinking back into the ground where the water will be used to irrigate the grounds and supply Lake Watauga.

The revived spring is part of Phase 1 improvements for the park's comprehensive restoration that began last year. The Centennial Park Master Plan project is led by Metro Parks, The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park and a master planning committee appointed by Mayor Karl Dean in 2008 to initiate the restoration process.

"Since its creation over a century ago, Centennial Park has been at the heart of our city as a prominent place for community, music, recreation and the arts," Mayor Dean said. "I appreciate the Conservancy and all the support it provides to Centennial's master plan. This first step to daylight Cockrill Spring lays the course for Centennial Park to remain the crown jewel of our city's park system for the next century and beyond."

Cockrill Spring produces 100 gallons of fresh water every minute. The new project will bring the spring to the surface surrounded by a new public plaza. Pools and cascades will feed into a winding manmade channel, inviting visitors to wade in the cool, clear spring water and explore the site. After flowing through wetland native gardens, the water will be collected and used to irrigate park environs and pumped to Lake Watauga. The project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2015.

"This is an extremely exciting day," said Metro Parks director Tommy Lynch. "By daylighting Cockrill Spring, we're creating an entirely new feature at the park's front door. The new pedestrian entrance will be a welcoming invitation for visitors to take advantage of everything Centennial Park has to offer, and is a wonderful addition to what is already one of the country's premier parks."

Cockrill Spring has a long history. It was a popular watering stop for travelers along the Natchez Trace dating back to the mid eighteenth century. By the mid nineteenth century, the city had an overabundance of water supply, and concern for water-borne diseases at the time led to the covering of the spring with its water being diverted to a sewer. Metro workers discovered the source of the spring in 2012, finding that it still produces thousands of gallons of fresh water every day, and leading designers to incorporate it into the park's restoration.

The daylighting of Cockrill Spring is the latest project entailing over $9.5 million of improvements for the first phase of Centennial Park's restoration. Through four separate capital spending plans approved by the Metro Council, Mayor Dean has allocated $8 million for the implementation of the Centennial Park Master Plan. Metro Water Services is also contributing $1.2 million in capital funds toward the daylighting of Cockrill Spring. Earlier this year Lake Watauga was cleaned. New aeration and circulation pumps were installed in the lake as well as vegetated floating wetland islands to absorb pollutants which have contributed to the poor quality of the lake water. Phase 1 will also include a new permanent venue for Musicians Corner, one of Nashville's most popular live music events, as well as parking improvements surrounding the Parthenon. Renowned landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz led the design of Phase 1 in collaboration with Nashville's Hodgson & Douglas.

"It is wonderful to see such amazing progress on the first phase of the park's restoration," said Sylvia Rapoport, president of The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park. "None of it would be possible without an effective public/private partnership. There has been a remarkable outpouring of support from the community, and that says a lot about the way this city values Centennial Park. We look forward to continuing to build that partnership and carrying that momentum through subsequent phases of the park's restoration."

The Conservancy, a nonprofit organization committed to improving and promoting the park through private sector support, raised over $1 million for Phase 1 of the of the Centennial Park Master Plan, a six-phase plan created in 2011 to restore and enhance the park.



Musicians Corner Nominated for Award

Salute To Excellence

The Conservancy is so proud to be recognized as a finalist for a 2014 Salute to Excellence Award at the Center for Nonprofit Management's annual celebration of nonprofit achievement. Our Musicians Corner program has been nominated for the Frist Foundation Innovation in Action Award which recognizes organizations who have developed innovative ways to fulfil their missions, on a large or small scale, through original and creative means beyond the usual concepts of management or service-delivery. We certainly believe Musicians Corner has accomplished this feat and are honored to be selected along with other nominated programs the Nashville Public Library Foundation: Limitless Libraries and Tennessee Foreign Language Institute: ESL to Go. An award of $25,000 will be presented to the winner, and $7,500 will be granted to the other two finalists at the CNM Salute to Excellence recognition dinner on September 23, 2014. In all, over $210,000 will be bestowed upon the winners of this year's awards, reaffirming our community's support of nonprofit achievement.

Musicians Corner was the recipient of the 2013 SunTrust Business Acumen in the Arts Award at last year's ceremony for its continued success in demonstrating business acumen to implement and execute the mission of the agency to create "high community impact." Record-breaking attendance of over 30,000 people at Musicians Corner's recently concluded Spring Season has proven this level of impact and engagement in our community and we are looking forward to continuing this success when our Fall Season begins September 6th.


Help The Conservancy Maintain Our Park's History


Did you know that on this day, 117 years ago (May 1, 1897), The Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition began in Nashville to celebrate 100 years of Tennessee in the union? The Parthenon in Nashville was built for the exposition and is the only surviving structure from the celebration. The original exposition grounds is now our beloved Centennial Park. Help us maintain our wonderful park's history by supporting The Conservancy during the #BigPayback on May 6th.

For more information, please visit TheBigPaybackorg..


Dredging of Lake Watauga

Flurry of activity for Centennial Park's Master Plan in Spring 2014

lake 1

Summer 2013 was Centennial Park's last "summer of slime"! An integrated water quality strategy is currently underway that will ensure a cleaner, clearer, more beautiful Lake Watauga. Dredging of lake sediment was preceded earlier this winter by relocation of the lake's fish and the eradication of a highly invasive exotic snail. A new aeration and circulation system is being installed along with floating wetland islands. Roots of Joe Pye Weed, Iris, Sedge and other native plant species growing on the islands will absorb phosphorus and other water pollutants. Think butterflies!

Additional improvements planned for next year will include rain gardens that filter storm water before it enters the lake and a significant increase in the flow of Cockrill Spring water to the lake.

Decades of sediment accumulation, poor water circulation and other conditions have resulted in poor water quality, poor aquatic habitat, and negative visual impacts for park visitors. Planned improvements will address all of these issues utilizing best practices in stormwater treatment and water quality management. As one of the park's few remaining historic features from the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition, and one of the park's most popular destinations today, this project will make Lake Watauga more beautiful and more sustainable.

lake 2

Phase 1 of Centennial Park's Master Plan Begins Construction

Phase 1 of Centennial Park's revitalization is set to begin this winter with the dredging of Lake Watauga followed by the daylighting of Cockrill Spring and construction of Musician's Corner in the spring of 2014.

Click the press release below to learn more.

Press Release for Phase 1