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West Nashville group uses billboard to criticize mayor over homeless encampment

Billboard paid for by Reclaim Brookmeade Park
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Posted at 5:28 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 07:46:54-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Reclaim Brookmeade Park, a community group in West Nashville, is hoping a new billboard gets the attention of Mayor John Cooper.

They're calling him out, saying he has not done enough about a homeless encampment at Brookmeade Park.

Members of the group Reclaim Brookmeade Park have said in the past, the park has become a magnet for the unhoused. They claim people experiencing homelessness come into the park from all over the city because nothing is being done to curb the encampment.

The new billboard, which was paid for by Reclaim Brookmeade Park, is on Charlotte Pike, near Watts Lane.

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One reads "Welcome to Mayor Cooper's West Nashville!" with a picture of the homeless encampment.

Reclaim Brookmeade Park founder Rebecca Lowe told NewsChannel 5 in January she met with Mayor Cooper and feels he's not "offering up any ideas of immediate transitional, supportive housing for the current encampment."

The group claims the area near Walmart off of Charlotte Pike has been this way for ten years and things need to change immediately.

Earlier this year, NewsChannel 5 reported the city has set aside $1.26 million to restore Brookmeade Park, but none of the money can be used to remove or disturb the people who live there.

Also, $850,000 of allocated funds cannot be used to repair and renovate the park until the encampment is cleared. The money will be used to buy new signs and maps, repave the trail and parking lot as well as put in electronic gates at the entrance.

The group said the mayor's project to build a permanent supportive housing center near downtown Nashville does not offer a solution to the camp, since the project isn't slated to be done until the fall of 2023. Once it's finished, it will have 90 units available to help transition people out of homelessness.