City of Brentwood
Ravenswood Farm propery. Photo courtesy City of Brentwood
Access to the outdoors is a health and quality of life issue for all Americans, but especially those living in or near urban areas. Our work with the city of Brentwood in Tennessee is a great example of how our efforts can make a real difference in a community. In 2010, we helped the city increase its green space by 50 percent.
Brentwood, just 13 miles from downtown Nashville, is one of the most desirable suburban locations to live and work in Middle Tennessee. As the city grows and the number of subdivisions increases, the community is putting conservation first. Green space preservation is the top priority in the Brentwood 2020 Plan, a long-term planning strategy created with community input. The city hopes to purchase large tracts of land while they are still available—and affordable.
Not wanting to see their land developed into subdivisions, members of the Smith family offered to sell their 320-acre property, known as Ravenswood, to the city for a price well below market value. Brentwood asked the Fund for assistance, and over the next two years we provided the expertise and capital for the city to acquire the property and the historic home that sits on it. It was the city’s largest land purchase, and the property is now the largest park in Brentwood.
With forested wildlife habitats still in their natural state, hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts and field land to hold activities such as youth sports, the property is a welcome addition to the city park system. Access to the new park is off a major road, and the bikeway network that runs through the city will connect the park with other areas, such as the public library. This addition of public green space provides a higher quality of life to Brentwood residents and the assurance that the city will remain a desirable place to live for years to come.
As public land, the property will be known as the Marcella Vivrette Smith Park.
“Our family is so pleased that Ravenswood will be preserved for perpetuity in a manner befitting such a historic site. My parents moved here 50 years ago. They restored the house, acquired land around it that had been part of the original estate, and remained at Ravenswood the rest of their lives. We are grateful for the opportunity to honor our mother by naming the park after her.” —Steve Smith, representing the Smith family.