Bombing commission reviews 'lessons learned' from Christmas Day

Posted at 2:27 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 15:27:37-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A second revitalization could come to Second Avenue nearly a year after a Christmas Day bomb destroyed portions of the corridor.

A Special Bombing Review Commission meeting went over the progress Tuesday that the area has made. As of mid-October, a new design plan for buildings damaged in the Christmas Day bombing has cleared one hurdle. The project will consist of reconstruction and new construction.

Historic zoning commissioners are hoping five years from now the area will look a lot like it did before the damage.

"Of course, the four buildings that were directly across from the bombed vehicle are the images we are used to seeing the most," Metro Historic Zoning Commissioner Robin Zeigler said. "But it's important to remember that many buildings held up pretty well. I don't mean to diminish the ongoing stress of the property owners, but in comparison to losing the majority of the building about 60% permits were minor."

'Lessons learned'

Items found on the sidewalk that were salvageable are now being stored.

Since last Christmas, a total 30 disaster-related preservation permits have come before the historic department. Nearly 60% were for windows, doors and roofing. The remaining 40% dealt with minor to major brick and structural repairs. The commission doesn't track interior work needed for the buildings.

"In terms of lessons learned, we think it would be useful for Metro to have a plan in place to step in and provide immediate stabilization for historic buildings, especially in the downtown area where those buildings have shared walls with other buildings or are close to other buildings. We think if we had been able to step and do that immediately that more of those four buildings that were damaged may still be here."

Zeigler said it would also be helpful to have "an insurance guru" for a disaster like this. She said a lot of work hasn't been done yet because of communications with insurance companies.

"A lot of people don't know how to work with their insurance companies, or what they are owed or what they are due," she said. "They aren't good advocates for themselves and they don't get all the money that they can. In some cases, we lost some historic buildings."

The historic department staffs two commissions: Metro Historic Zoning and Metro Historical Commission. Because its in a historic overlay, both groups are helping provide input on what happens in Second Avenue. The two created a task force to advise the city as it moves forward.

The buildings bombed were from the 1800s and contained the Victorian era features. The area was once a commercial district for the river. By the 1970s, they were empty and partners throughout Nashville revitalized the area for shops and restaurants.

"Sometimes, it takes a tragedy like this for people to really understand the importance of preservation and what it means to the city going forward," Zeigler said.