There are countless things to love about Nashville — and yes, we’re talking about more than hot chicken and honky tonks. One of our favorite aspects of living in this incredibly dynamic city is the many parks and green spaces available no matter what part of town you live in. And now, there’s a new park to explore: Frankie Pierce Park, the Gulch’s first park and largest green space located at Capitol View.
The park is named after influential African American women’s suffrage movement leader Juno Frankie Pierce, a Nashville native who sought to improve conditions for African American women in the area. Aside from being a national educator and a suffragist, she also worked tirelessly to establish the Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls in 1923.
In 1951, she was named “Woman of the Year” by the Nashville Chapter of Links, Inc., a national organization for professional women of color. Additionally, many of her social service efforts directly benefited the residents who lived in the Capitol View district. She is memorialized on the Alan LeQuire Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument in Centennial Park, and now she’s also being honored with this beautiful new Nashville green space that bears her name.
The planning of the park started several years ago, beginning with a public-private partnership between Capitol View, which is being developed by Northwestern Mutual and Boyle Investment Company, and the Metro Parks and Recreation Department. Northwestern Mutual and Boyle Investment Company donated more than an acre of land to the city of Nashville for the 2.5-acre park. The Metro Parks and Recreation Department then purchased the remaining land. The almost $4 million it cost to build Frankie Pierce Park was funded through this public-private partnership.
“Northwestern Mutual could have easily sold all of the land at Capitol View,” explains Jeff Haynes, Boyle Investment Company Partner and lead partner behind the development of Capitol View. “Instead, they asked Boyle to dream big on a project that could reshape the North Gulch and contribute to the Nashville-built environment.”
The motivation behind bringing the park to fruition stems from Boyle’s endeavors to create a sense of place and community, not only for the district but also for the surrounding areas. “After much research and conversations with the Metro Parks Department, we concluded the local community could greatly benefit from a downtown park and that we were in the position to provide that,” Jeff continues.
Located within 1,500 feet of the State Capitol, Frankie Pierce Park is the largest public green space in the area. “When you’re at the base of the State Capitol, and you have the chance to do something impactful for the community, you take that very seriously,” Jeff continues. It’s also a vital segment of the City Central Greenway System around the urban core, connecting neighborhoods, schools, parks and commercial districts.
“Frankie Pierce Park is designed to be a space for everyone – a green oasis in the otherwise heavily developed downtown Nashville,” Jeff says, adding that creating a safe, sustainable green space welcoming to all and with uses for any visitor was his main objective when coming up with plans for the park.
“Frankie Pierce herself impacted so many people throughout her life,” says Jeff. “We are hopeful that having this park in her name will continue her impact.”
To learn more about Capitol View and the various amenities you’ll find there, visit capitolviewnashville.com.
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