2nd Ave. recovery project includes plans for historic facade, outdoor dining and restored tree canopy

Screen Shot 2021-12-08 at 11.52.10 AM.png
Posted at 6:00 AM, Dec 08, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Mayor John Cooper has unveiled a "community vision" for historic downtown Nashville, including details of the Second Avenue recovery project.

Cooper, along with the Second Avenue Task Force, met Wednesday at the Wildhorse Saloon to discuss the future of the historic street.

The first phase of the project can now begin after Metro Council approved Cooper's latest capital spending plan, which includes $20 million for the recovery of Second Avenue — and because of the history in the area, the historic zoning commission has played a big role in approving projects.

According to the mayor's office, more than 500 people — from within and beyond downtown — contributed to the vision, which includes better sidewalks and a restored tree canopy. Cooper said the plan also includes more outdoor dining, public art displays and food kiosks. He said the “livable streetscape” will serve not only visitors, but also the 78,000 downtown employees and families, consisting of about 15,000 neighbors, and 4,600 dogs.


“Nashville quickly turned what began as a tragedy last Christmas morning into an opportunity,” Mayor Cooper said. “Our community came together, to create a shared vision for the future of our historic downtown. Generations from now, we want our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to look at what we created and say, ‘they did well.’ And that’s a destination we can only reach, all of us, working together.”

AT&T will also fund a creative concept for the new, nine-story facade of its telecommunications building, located at 185 Second Avenue N. It will feature a life-size recreation of Phil Ponder’s painting of Second Avenue — paying tribute to the historic street in its original form.

Cooper said the owners of 170-176 Second Avenue North also collaborated with Metro Planning and the Urban Land Institute on a vision for their properties that includes a passageway to 1st Avenue.

Christmas will mark one year since Second Avenue was forever changed by an early morning bombing. Throughout the year, community feedback has been essential for project managers, saying they want to gear the designs towards the people of Nashville, not just tourists.

This fall, the commission approved the reconstruction recommendations for two buildings, including immediate stabilization to repair gutters, steel bracing and additional protective mortar to the tops of exposed masonry walls.