Photo taken in early 1950’s of The Bottoms which were located southwest of the courthouse between West Main Street and South Church Street.–Courtesy of RutherfordTNhistory.org
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The City of Murfreesboro and Ragan-Smith Associates have begun a planning study to strengthen and enhance an area of downtown historically known as “The Bottoms” because of its low terrain and frequent flooding. The study area is generally the area south of the Historic Downtown Square, east along Southeast Broad Street to Discovery Center, west along Southeast Broad Street to Memorial Boulevard to the CSX railroad as the western boundary. The study area includes Murfreesboro’s Civic Plaza, Cannonsburgh Village and the west Main Street area, to name a few key landmarks.
The City and Ragan-Smith urge the community to participate throughout the process and look forward to hearing from citizens about the possibilities.
The ten-month planning study will result in a future land use plan, a development scenario, potential industrial, civic and cultural uses, possible infrastructure improvements, and market recommendations focused on retail, office and residential uses.
Multiple opportunities for the public and key stakeholders to provide input and feedback throughout the process will be available, including in-person interviews, a steering committee with multiple meetings and two community open houses.
“We want to take a very close look at the opportunities that are possible for the future of this area of Murfreesboro,” said Donald Anthony, AICP, Principal Planner for the City of Murfreesboro and lead Murfreesboro planner for this project. “This area has a rich cultural history, but has in the past felt separate and apart from our historic downtown. Recognizing Broad Street is a key corridor, we want to improve the connectivity between the southern and northern areas of downtown and to understand how best to support revitalization efforts up and down Broad Street.”
“We believe this area is a hidden gem in terms of available facilities and land for our growing city,” said Randy Caldwell, Ragan-Smith Executive Vice President and a registered landscape architect (RLA). “Our team is very excited to be working on this project, and we look forward to uncovering the potential for the area and providing recommendations for both the public and the private sectors to begin to tap into the opportunities here.”
“The mixture of uses that occur along Broad Street and the surrounding area makes it a very interesting place. It also serves as an important collector street because of its diagonal transect along the edge of Murfreesboro’s downtown grid and its role as a primary route north-west and south- east of downtown” said Kevin Guenther, registered landscape architect and project manager with Ragan Smith’s project team.
The work process includes a thorough review of existing planning documents, field reconnaissance of the study area, review of the character of the area, a transportation and infrastructure analysis and a market analysis to identify the area’s potential.
Ragan-Smith developed the Master Plan for Murfreesboro’s Gateway project and has worked on multiple development and planning projects and studies in the mid-state region. Presently they are also working on the North Highland Avenue Planning Survey also.
Working on the Ragan-Smith team are: Kevin Guenther, RLA, LEED AP, ASLA, Keith Covington, Third Coast Design Studio, Randy Gross, Randall Gross Development Economics and Terri Sterling Donovan, Sterling Communications.