Brookmeade residents beg Metro Parks board for humanitarian help

Posted at 11:04 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 00:04:12-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Metro Parks Board is once again hearing from concerned West Nashville community members on Brookmeade Park.

The group "Reclaim Brookmeade" says Brookmeade is in crisis, and it has been that way for at least a year, overrun by a homeless camp.

Resident Dede Byrd said that those crying out for help are not only neighbors, but also the people who call the park home. She said 60 people who are homeless are now living in the park, which is littered with an abundance of shopping carts. And she said there have been 134 ambulance runs to the park in the last 3 months.

"There's ways for these people to be helped and we want this park to be a part of that," Byrd said. "We want this board to be a part of that. You shouldn't have to live without running water and electricity. You should not have to do your activities of daily living in a bucket and take it down to the Cumberland River and dump it in because you only have one port-a-potty, and you can't get out of the park."

Members of the group are looking to get the people living in the park into shelters so locals will be able to use the greenways again. They say they can't use the public area because of the people in need of mental health and addiction support on the property.

Community members are proposing that money from the American Rescue Plan Act be used to help address the issue.

"I'm told that there are roughly 40 to 45 people left in the park — absolutely no reason why Metro government can't pull it together and find some sort of appropriate shelter with security and services for those folks to survive until they get long-term housing," said Rebecca Lowe, the founder of Reclaim Brookmeade Park.

The Parks Board will meet again on September 26 at Bellevue Community Center to address this issue with Brookmeade.

A final vote on federal funding is expected to happen at the October 4 Metro Council meeting.

Friday, the city has planned another clean-up effort from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The founder of Reclaim Brookmeade says they can do a lot of clean-ups, but it doesn't really address the issue at hand.

"It's just gotten to the point where it's pointless, because we really need to solve the problem so we don't have this outlying issue," Lowe said. "We need to house these people; we need to secure the park so more people don't move into the park. We need mental health support and addiction support, and it all goes hand in hand — and I think we can do it."