Wild turkeys fly into the woods at the old Bordeaux Landfill site, which has now been designated a wildlife habitat. T (The Tennessean photo/George Walker IV)
NASHVILLE — The site of a controversial former dump in Nashville has been transformed into a wildlife habitat.
The Tennessean reports Mayor Karl Dean and others recently celebrated the Wildlife Habitat Council’s certification for the 190-acre site in northwest Nashville.
Once known for tons of trash, the area is now known for prairie coneflowers, wood thrushes, Canada geese and whitetail deer.
Public works official Veronica Frazier says there are 35 species of animal in the area and 16 species of native plants.
She says officials plan to use the area for education.
“I hope this will be a clear indication to people that conjecture and speculation is over,” Frazier said. “We are going to keep this, as long as it’s with Metro, as a natural wildlife habitat, which is perfect for a former landfill.”
Metro opened the landfill in 1973 and operated it until 1996, though it brought protests from nearby residents, a federal lawsuit and claims of discrimination because it is located in a predominantly black area.
“I can think back vividly to a few decades ago, when this was one of the most controversial sites in the city,” Dean said. “It was hard to think then that this would be seen as a habitat.”
Eight years after the landfill closed, Public Works employees begin planting native plants and grasses on the site. Metro Beautification and Environment Commission Director Sharon Smith said the greenery attracted animals.
Dorothy McCrady, who has lived near the site since 1974, said she’s pleased with the work so far, but more needs to be done.
“It’s a first step,” she said. “I know it’s going to take a while for it to recover from being a dump. Covering over the landfill and getting all the gases out, I understand that takes a long time. It’s years and years and years away from where it really will be usable land for something else.”