Cumberland Park: A Review

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Location: Next to the pedestrian bridge downtown, on the eastside
Size of Park: Medium
Crowds: Tons of families
Approximate Age of Patrons: Parents and children
Topics of Conversation: "Look, look, look"
Stray Dogs Seen: None
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: All kinds
Perceived Safety: High
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: You can bring a dog, but I wouldn't recommend it
Number of pitbulls sighted: Just mine
Accessibility: Fine
Incorporation of Local History: Not as much as I would like, but what there is is very nicely done.
Recommended Patrons: Everyone

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Holy cow. If there's a park worth coming out of park-reviewing retirement for, it is this one. I'm not even sure where to start. The park is nestled between the pedestrian bridge and the Korean Veterans' Bridge, right along the river. The immediate selling point for families is that there's a ton of stuff for kids to do — a rock wall, ropes to climb, a weird spider web to navigate, a series of undulating hills with different playground equipment among them, and a water feature they were just getting ready to turn on as I left.

But this is also a beautiful park for people who don't have kids. They've done a wonderful job with plant materials and there are nice paths through what is going to be an amazing wildflower garden in a couple of years. Don't get me wrong, it's lovely now, but you know how perennials are. Year two is always better than year one.

The trees they have in are a fine size for young trees, but again, those are only going to get better looking as they fill out. There's plenty of seating and it seems well-designed for people with accessibility needs. And it looks like there's going to be a concession stand.

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If this were a park anywhere in town, it would be a great park. But the thing I think pushes it beyond just a great park is that the park (along with the greenway) encourages you to enjoy that specific location. There are overlooks that let you get awesome views of downtown. There's this catwalk that takes you out over the river. And the hill the park sits on is again designed to let you enjoy the park with the river and the downtown as its backdrop.

Being in the park makes me feel really good about the city and it makes me feel like we're finally giving all Nashvillians a way to relate to the river as a beautiful natural resource and not just an obstacle to getting between downtown and East Nashville.

If there had been a Parks Department person within reach, i would have high-fived him or her. This is a great park, and if you haven't checked it out yet, please do.

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