$10 million renovated facility opens with ribbon cutting, community dinner, baseball doubleheader
Belmont University, the Edgehill community and the Metro Board of Parks and Recreation joined together today to celebrate the Grand Opening of the newly renovated E.S. Rose Park and Sports Complex. Following a rainy morning, the skies cleared, and park festivities began at 4 p.m. with the first of a doubleheader Belmont baseball match up vs. Murray State along with kids’ activities, music and a complimentary dinner. Click here to see photos from the event.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean participated in the official ribbon cutting ceremony along with Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, Mike Strickland (Belmont Athletics), Deborah Washington (E.S. Rose family representative), 13-year-old Mekia Morrow (Rose Park Magnet School, Lighting the Path), 11-year-old baseball player JJ Mercer (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), Marty Dickens (Belmont Board of Trustees), Tommy Lynch (Metro Parks), Vincent Campbell (Pastor, Kayne Avenue Baptist Church), Erica Gilmore (District 19 Council member) and Rev. Michael Broadnax (Pastor of Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church).
An innovative, shared facilities concept between Belmont University and Metro Parks, E.S. Rose Park and Sports Complex features several state-of-the-art athletic venues, which will ultimately include: a 750-seat synthetic turf baseball field; a 250-seat natural grass softball field; a new 300-seat track; soccer facilities with synthetic turf for safety and speed; a walking track; relocated basketball courts; and a single-story 5,150-square-foot center providing team locker space and concession stand.
Mayor Dean said, “This is a great example of a public private partnership that benefits everyone involved. Through this partnership we were able to do more with this park than we would have been able to do alone, and Belmont gets a facility close to the school to play their games. As we work to make Nashville a healthier city, places like this help make it easier for people to live more active lives and that is truly what makes projects like this one so important.”
Dr. Fisher added, “Today represents a significant moment in the history of Belmont University and our ongoing relationships with both the city of Nashville and our campus neighbors. All of our students, faculty and staff recognize the incredible opportunities that come with the long-awaited grand opening of E.S. Rose Park. This facility not only provides our student-athletes and fans a beautiful new home field, but this Metro Park offers immense potential for Belmont University to more deeply connect with and serve our community partners, local schools and neighborhood children.”
Belmont University is investing more than $10 million in the park and will make annual lease payments of $50,000 to provide support to the surrounding schools as well as support the programming for youth and seniors at the Easley Center. Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation will own and control the scheduling of E.S. Rose Park and Sports Complex and its improvements. In addition to its athletic offerings, a Thor Guard Lightning Prediction System has been installed in the park, which will be activated from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Thor Guard predicts the probability of lightning hazards in an area up to 25 square miles and provides a specific reading of the risk in the immediate area, allowing park users ample time to take cover in the event of dangerous weather conditions.
The renovated E.S. Rose Park facility also promotes new and improved collaborations between the Easley Center, the Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation facility located in the park; Carter Lawrence Elementary School; Rose Park Middle School; local neighborhood organizations; and nearby Belmont University.
Following the ribbon cutting and before the start of the second baseball game, Belmont alumnus Larry Stewart (’83) sang the national anthem. Stewart, the lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist for Restless Heart, attended Belmont on a baseball scholarship. Former Metro Councilman Ludye Wallace, who was instrumental in the community-university collaboration in Rose Park and was also a college baseball player, threw out the ceremonial “first pitch” of the game to 11-year-old Leland Wilhoite from Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. In front of a crowd of 1,207 fans for the grand opening, the Belmont baseball team (26-21) split the non-conference doubleheader against Murray State.
Community groups and sports leagues interested in booking the Rose Park fields, should call Metro Parks’ Sports Department at (615) 862-8400 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and noon, Tuesday through Friday. Only the completed fields will be available for scheduled use until all construction is finished and the fencing is removed, which is anticipated to occur mid-May.
About Metro Parks
Metro Parks offers a variety of parks and recreational facilities and programs throughout Davidson County. Currently, there are 115 parks on over nearly 11,000 acres of land. The department manages 7 municipal golf courses, a marina, 23 community centers, 8 swimming pools, 2 spray parks, a wave-action pool, a premiere skate park, four nature centers, four historical properties and more. It is the department’s mission to provide every citizen of Nashville and Davidson County with an equal opportunity for safe recreational and cultural activities within a network of parks and greenways that preserves and protects the region’s natural resources.