Nashville city leaders have some big plans for the future of a landfill that was once the center of one of the most heated debates in town.
Officials closed the gate to the old Bordeaux landfill in 1996 after residents waged a bitter battle, but Metro Councilman Lonnell Matthews says the area is now a step closer to making a dream a reality.
"It has the potential of becoming Radnor Lake," Matthews said.
The state has certified the old Bordeaux landfill as a natural wildlife habitat.
"Having place for wildlife and natural vegetation for grass and plants is important for a city," said Mayor Karl Dean. "And the fact that this is an old landfill that is now being recognized as a wildlife preserve is a good thing. It's a positive thing for the city."
This move comes after years of protests from residents in the mid-1980s, which pushed politicians to eventually shut it down.
"Some of them felt that maybe they'll try to reopen the landfill. It kind of puts a place of comfort in their minds and hearts to know that we fought hard for something, and it will never be here again," Matthews said.
Turning the old eyesore into a wildlife habitat wasn't easy. It took over a decade of work, removing toxic soil, including methane gases and planting new vegetation.
Now, in its place, is a lush playground for dozens of native plants and animals.
"We have 35 species of animals. We have natural grasses that have been established. And, of course, as many of you know, once those grasses are established, they do the best job at stopping erosion," said Veronica Frazier, assistant director of Metro Public Works.
"We're really working to make this a positive area of the county, and make this something the city could really be proud of one day," Matthews said.
According to Metro Parks, closing a landfill is a 30-year process, of which the city is only about halfway through.
They say, despite the designation, the state will continue to inspect the property for the next 15 years to be sure officials are complying with all regulations.
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