“This is what collaboration for the public good looks like.” – Mayor David Briley
On Saturday, August 11th, Conexión Américas and Metro Parks celebrated the grand opening of Azafrán Park, Nashville’s newest public park next to Casa Azafrán. The new park serves as much needed green space in Nashville’s vibrant international district.
With Azafrán Park, Conexión Américas continues the journey to spark inclusive development along the Nolensville Pike corridor. The park will bring Nashvillians together by creating shared civic spaces that connect us to our neighbors, to nature, to public art, to each other.
Speaking at the grand opening were Mayor David Briley, Monique Odom, Director of Metro Parks, Council Member Colby Sledge, Tasha Kennard, Executive Director of Nashville Farmers’ Market, Dr. Dalila Duarte, Director of the Casa Azafrán Early Learning Center, State Representative Jason Powell and Renata Soto, Co-founder and Executive Director of Conexión Américas.
“Conexión Américas’ vision of an equitable and inclusive city includes access for all its residents to inviting, beautiful, well-maintained, safe public places in which to play, socialize and participate,” said Renata. “And that’s the same community building mission that more recently inspired us to create a park in collaboration with the city to bring Nashvillians of different backgrounds together to share a new public space where to gather, to connect.”
In Davidson County, Southeast Nashville has seen the greatest population growth during the last 15 years, but still has the fewest open green spaces and parks. The need for more open green space – and a playground – near Casa Azafrán became more pressing in 2014 with the opening of Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Casa Azafrán Early Learning Center, which serves 96 pre-school children five days a week. Azafrán Park will provide opportunities for outdoor play, exercise and learning for these students, neighbors and all Nashvillians.
“Whenever we can add green space to a fast-growing neighborhood in the core of our city, it’s a good day,” Mayor David Briley said. “Azafran Park will be a place where children and adults of all ages can gather, play, exercise and enjoy art that represents our diversity, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a visionary public-private partnership between Metro Parks, Conexion Americas and so many others. This is what collaboration for the public good looks like.”
Azafrán Park is also a key component of Envision Nolensville Pike, a project led by Conexión Américas in partnership with the Salahadeen Center, Nashville Area MPO, Transportation for America, the Nashville Civic Design Center, several metro departments and local artists. Envision Nolensville Pike maps out –literally and figuratively– the aspirations and dreams for the Nolensville Pike corridor as expressed by residents and business owners during community gatherings. Azafrán Park is a step forward in making these community aspirations a reality.
“Azafrán Park is a great example of a productive partnership that has resulted in a safe, beautiful, well-maintained space for both children and adults to enjoy. It’s partnerships like this that helps our department tackle the scarcity of parks and open spaces in areas like Southeast Nashville – home to the largest concentration of immigrant families in the county,” said Metro Parks Director Monique Odom.
A true public/private partnership transforming a car repair shop into a neighborhood asset, Azafrán Park counts on the support of Metro Parks and major funders, including the Metropolitan Government of Nashville, Stephen James Turner Family Foundation, Joe C. Davis Foundation, Maddox Charitable Fund, Rotary Club of Nashville, HCA Foundation, Ingram Charities, NRPA/The Disney Company, Bank of America Foundation, ArtPlace America, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, The Mulch Company, Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The new park will be operated and maintained by Metro Parks and, like Casa Azafrán, will be open to the entire neighborhood and city. At the inauguration, Nashvillians saw all the different park components: a sculptural maze of interlocking colorful blocks, Italian collective Cracking Art sculptural snails, a pre-school playground, a splash pad, the Flight pavilion and mural, a drum circle and the Roots & Routes International Coin Mural, an eight foot by six foot work of art made by local artists from coins around the world representing the roots and routes of Nashville’s diverse residents.
See the full album of photos from the Azafrán Park Grand Opening Ceremony.