Centennial Park Master Plan

master plan


infographic fall 2015


ribbon cutting

JUNE 18, 2015 UPDATE

Mayor Karl Dean, officials with Metro Parks and the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park today celebrated the completion of Phase One Renovations to Centennial Park. The much-anticipated project features the daylighting of Cockrill Spring, a dedicated space for the popular Musicians Corner, and a new parking area surrounding the Parthenon. The redesign of major spaces in the park is the result of the department's 2010 Centennial Park Master Plan, which reprioritized green space to accommodate festivals, musical performances and recreation while also providing users with a respite from the urbanizing landscapes that surrounds the park.

"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. "This public-private investment enhances the way visitors can enjoy the park's beauty and sets Centennial Park on a path to remain a gem in Nashville's park system for the next century and beyond. I appreciate the partnership of the Conservancy and the work of Metro Parks for turning this Master Plan into reality."

Phase One renovations kicked off last year with the dredging of Lake Watauga as part of a project to improve water quality and help rid the lake of algae. More recently, engineers worked to increase the amount of water flowing into the lake from Cockrill Spring, which had been buried underground in the part of the park that sits near West End Avenue. Rain gardens were created to filter stormwater runoff before it goes into the lake.

"The historical and current significance of Centennial Park cannot be overstated," said Metro Parks Director Tommy Lynch. "We made sure we honored the rich, vibrant and memorable history of this 105-year old park, while also updating certain key areas to accommodate the needs of future generations."

Highlights of the much-anticipated project include:

· The "daylighting" of the historic Cockrill Spring, bringing it to the surface to create a new pool and rill water feature creating a new destination in the park, with gardens and landscaping organized around it.

· A dedicated space for Musicians Corner that features native woodland landscape woven with paths and benches, crab orchard stone seating and other infrastructure that allows the space to be transformed into an informal performance venue. Gently graded slopes create spaces for blankets and picnicking, and the audience zone can expand or contract depending on the size of the event. It is designed as nimble and flexible space that functions beautifully for day-to-day enjoyment and can be scaled up for musical events in an urban forest setting.

· A single parking lot that creates a new approach to the Parthenon including an entry plaza, a formal events lawn to the east of the Parthenon, and new gardens, trees and landscaping.

"To see the vision for the first phase of renovations in the park come to life is breathtaking," said Sylvia Rapoport, president of The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park. "But even more exciting are the ways these stunning initial improvements foreshadow what's to come. With the community's help, the momentum built during Phase One will lead to a transformation that will return Centennial Park to the grandeur it possessed well over a century ago."

The Centennial Park Master Plan was developed through a collaborative effort between the Mayor Karl Dean, the Parks Department, and The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park.


Our Concept Plan intends to provide functional, beautiful, and transcendent spaces for contemporary use that resonate with stories of the past. The design seeks to further reinforce Centennial Park's place as a cultural hub for the city. It aspires to provide a park experience rich in meaning, both personal and cultural.

May 29, 2015 UPDATE

Phase One of Centennial Park restoration is currently underway and expected to be completed this summer. Please check out these wonderful images of the Cockrill Spring Plan, Cockrill Spring Rendering and Parthenon Plan.


August 8, 2014 Update

A press conference was held for the celebratory daylighting of Cockrill Spring to officially mark the beginning of this major restoration initiative. View the press release here.

June 6, 2013 Update

June 6, 2013 - Extensive efforts are underway to restore Centennial Park's prominence as a place that champions arts and culture, music, history, education, environment and health and wellness. Mayor Dean charged Metro Parks and The Conservancy to revitalize the park and return it to Nashville's exemplary urban greenspace. As a result, an unprecedented Master Plan has been developed that preserves the park's unique elements while making it a leader in landscape stewardship and innovation.

We are beginning the first of 6 phases of the Plan. The core focus of Phase One is water as an anchor and an organizing element of Centennial Park. Phase One will explore the ecological restoration and celebration of Cockrill Springs, innovative stormwater management strategies to improve the water quality in Lake Watauga, and green infrastructure improvements.

The internationally recognized firm, Nelson Byrd Woltz, will lead the project that honors Centennial Park's legacy and encourages design innovation to engender stewardship. NBW has been recognized with over 80 national and regional awards and has forged a body of work that includes The Peggy Guggenheim Sculpture Garden in Venice Italy, the National Arboretum of New Zealand, and Google Corporate Headquarters in northern California. Their offices are in Charlottesville, Virginia and New York.

View the Press Release.