When New South Associates’ David Price was approached by the Land Trust of Tennessee to see if New South was interested in developing a conservation plan, he was intrigued. The conservation plan area, a unique place located in northwest Davidson County across the Cumberland River from Nashville, was rich in natural and cultural resources. Within two months, he and co-author Julie Coco, along with Mary Beth Reed, President of New South Associates and Director of the History Department, and graphics designer Tracey Fedor compiled a conservation plan that was a collaboration between a well-organized, articulate community organization, the Trust, and New South. The plan’s purpose was to raise awareness of this unique rural area that lies within the Nashville metro region and to seek ways to preserve its rural character.
For many years, much of northwest Davidson County has been an almost forgotten part of the metropolitan Nashville area. As Nashville’s urban growth has historically spread west and south and road access in the area has remained limited, the north–south corridor between Beaman Park and Bells Bend has retained a rural landscape that is, in many ways, unchanged from the time of its settlement in the nineteenth century. Indeed, Bells Bend itself has been called “probably the best preserved historic agricultural landscape remaining in the county.” The people who live in this part of the county relish the many resources that set it apart from the rest of Nashville and Davidson County, including the steep slopes and ridges of the Western Highland Rim, abundant wildlife habitat, creeks and streams, archaeological and historic sites, and working farms in the fertile bottom land of Bells Bend. The area’s close proximity to downtown Nashville is another prized amenity, making travel between the city and country quite easy. But this proximity to the city is also a challenge for those who want to maintain the area’s rural quality of life. Nashville’s urban growth, which has for so long bypassed the area, is now knocking on its door, threatening the resources that residents hold dear.
Having halted a proposed Bells Bend landfill in the early 1990s and, more recently, an 800-acre residential development in the Bend, the Scottsboro/Bells Bend community partnered with the Land Trust for Tennessee to develop this conservation plan that will be used to maintain the area’s rural character and help guide future growth. This document is a first step toward the goal of balancing conservation and responsible rural development. It contains an inventory and assessment of the resources valued by the community, specifically natural resources, working farmland, historic buildings and landscapes, and archaeological sites. The final chapter contains broad recommendations for promoting rural conservation and quality growth in the area.
For more information about Bells Bend, you can click the link http://www.landtrusttn.org/bbb.html.
Quote Source: Metropolitan Planning Commission, Bordeaux-Whites Creek Community Plan: 2003 Update, 10; Internet; accessed July 26, 2007; available from http://www.nashville.gov/mpc/subarea/subarea3.htm.