Metro Parks is breaking ground this week on hundreds of acres of farmland along the banks of the Stones and Cumberland rivers for a brand-new regional park where the Donelson and Hermitage communities connect.
Ravenwood Regional Park will transform 800 acres of open space into recreation areas, hiking trails, playgrounds, pavilions, kids’ activities area and a quiet ambiance, near the historic landmark Stone Hall Mansion along Lebanon Pike in Hermitage.
Area Metro Council district representatives will be on hand Friday, Aug. 20, at 10 a.m., to turn the ceremonial first shovel full of dirt, proclaiming the official start of Ravenwood Regional Park construction. Metro Council District 12’s Erin Evans, District 13’s Russ Bradford and District 15’s Jeff Syracuse are expected to join groundbreaking ceremony host and District 14’s Kevin Rhoten at the park’s construction site.
Ravenwood Regional Park is in the early stages of development. Initial work involves the construction of an entry road, greenway and trails, parking lot, playground, large pavilion, sport court and fitness equipment, sidewalks, and open lawn, Metro Parks shared in a statement.
Phase one of the project will include demolition, earthwork, paving, landscaping, and installation of site utilities. Ground erosion preparation has already started at the park’s site next to the Stones River Greenway, which runs along the edge of the site connecting this large park to Shelby Bottoms Park to the west and the Percy Priest Dam to the east.
“Ravenwood Park is located only a few miles from downtown Nashville. It will fill a notable void in the area by providing vital recreational opportunities to the residents of Donelson and Hermitage as well as others across the county,” said Metro Parks Director Monique Horton Odom.
The regional park will be surrounded by almost four miles of scenic river frontage in a large bend of the Stones River just south of the confluence of the Stones and Cumberland Rivers. Stone Hall Mansion, acquired by Metro in 2007 and also known as the Donelson Home, sits at the front of the park site.
Ravenwood Regional Park will sit on property with a rich history and vast natural vistas that expand into open land and sky. The confluence, flood plain and the rolling hills created an ideal site for human occupation and activity for more than 10,000 years, from Native American Mississippians who hunted grazing animals, to early European agrarian settlers, to a private Ravenwood Country Club and Golf Course built in the middle of the 20th century.
The new regional park has been years in the making ever since the City of Nashville began acquiring property over a 10-year period and assembled 800 contiguous acres of land near the Stones River by 2013.
In 2017 Metro Parks adopted an updated master plan called “Plan to Play,” after the area experienced an unprecedented population growth. The master plan set out the vision for the Nashville parks and greenways system for the next ten years and tasked the department to build more parks for the people of Nashville.
Later that year in May, the planning effort for the Ravenwood Regional Park began with an open house for the community at the future park site. At the same time, research about the land and ecology was already underway. Most recently, funding for phase one construction was approved.