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Pothole fix timing sparks questions after Amy Grant's fall at Nashville park

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 19:27:27-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It took just four hours for Metro Parks to begin patching up the road where musician Amy Grant fell in Percy Warner Park, and some argue her star power is the only reason anything was done.

Grant is still recovering from a concussion after riding her bike into a pothole near Harpeth Hills Golf Course on July 27. Bryan Ward was nearby when he saw her lying on the ground unconscious.

“I was concerned. It was kind of scary. I’m not a medical doctor, so I don’t know what the conditions were, but she certainly had some scrapes, and I think she was unconscious for a little bit,” Ward said.

Ward had no idea who the woman was at the time but told NewsChannel 5 Investigates he knew exactly what happened the moment he saw where she was compared to her bike.

“I knew immediately because I’ve biked this a few times before, and I had almost hit these potholes myself, and I was able to veer around them,” Ward said.

Ward was now determined to make sure no one else would fall victim to the same road. NewsChannel 5 Investigates saw bikers fly down this stretch of road near the golf course and weave in between the potholes.

“I reached out to my local representative. They closed the road and got things patched up in prompt order,” Ward said.

There was a little more to it than that, but if it feels fast, that's not an inaccurate quantity. Ward sent an email to Metro Councilwoman Angie Henderson, District 34, describing what happened, and why he felt something should be done to address the road.

Henderson responded a little over two hours later at 5:49 p.m. with an email of her own where she cc’d Metro Parks calling for even a temporary fix.

Metro Parks responded an hour later to say they’ve closed the road and began filling the potholes with a temporary concrete mix.

For those doing the math, that’s just about a four-hour response from start to finish. Ward wasn’t complaining, but he couldn’t help but feel this wasn’t typical.

“When I reported it, I had no idea who this woman was. It was only a couple days later when I saw the news,” Ward said.

By now it was all anyone talked about. That the woman taken to the hospital that day was Grant. I’m sure you can imagine how every time our cameras were anywhere near the road, everyone had something to say — off camera — about why they felt it took an injured celebrity for something to be done.

“Regardless of who it is. I think that’s an issue that needs to be taken seriously and I hope that’s why we were able to get such a prompt response,” Ward said.

One man near the golf course explained how last month someone else was hurt in the same pothole. When they called Metro Parks, the response was that they would get to it when they could.

No one brought up Grant’s accident just days later at the next Metro Parks meeting until NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked director Monique Odom to address the skeptics. Monique began by sharing her well wishes with Grant and her family.

“I just regret that the accident happened and send our positive thoughts and prayers to Ms. Grant in her recovery,” Odom said.

When asked what she thought about people saying it takes something drastic to happen before Metro Parks acts, Odom said “all park visitors are important in Metro parks.”

Her office later sent a statement saying they have no record of someone else calling about an injury last month. As for what to do next, Odom told us they recently completed an assessment of paving needs on the roads at the park.

The estimate was just shy of $600,000 to repave most of the park, which was an estimate they got back in May. NewsChannel 5 Investigates noticed that under notes it states that Metro Parks was provided a list of problem roads for reference back in March.

The very next line mentions that vendors never actually went out to see how bad these roads were for themselves. Instead, it was almost four months before Metro Parks patched the road.

“Our assessment — as I mentioned of paving needs — is one of the reasons why we did that is because we know there are needs,” Odom said.

Odom says the plan is to request funding from Metro to cover the cost of paving, but for now, hardly anything feels set in stone. Some say that’s the problem.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates knows Metro Parks has requested funding in the past for paving projects, but ultimately they're the ones responsible for which of their roads get fixed when they get funding.

We’re told they're working to pave this stretch of the park as soon as they can, but right now there's some uncertainty on if they will get any more money to make this happen.