Public Invited to "BOTTOMS" Meeting August 9th

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This 1950's photo shows the area between W. Main and S. Church, known as "The Bottoms". This poverty area flooded on a regular basis.


The public is invited to attend a Historic Bottoms Planning Study and visioning workshop in meeting rooms A and B at the Patterson Community Center from 5:00 until 8:00PM on Tuesday evening, August 9th.

The study area is historically known as "The Bottoms" because of its low terrain and frequent flooding. To learn more about the meeting watch YouTube video at


Where Were "The Bottoms"

Newcomers to the Heart of Tennessee may wonder what were the BOTTOMS and where were they located?


As the name implies, this was low ground in the area of Broad and South Church Street to South Front Street. Flooding from Town Creek and Lytle Creek, beside where Cannonsburgh is now located, flooded this area on a regular basis.

In the 1950s, Murfreesboro received special federal funding to assist in renewing 52-acres of land in this urban renewal project.

This was a poverty area filled with shacks that had no electricity or running water.

Purpose of Meeting

The purpose of the workshop is to listen to what citizens and stakeholders want in the study area, which includes the area of downtown Murfreesboro that is south of the historic Downtown Square, east along Southeast Broad Street to Discovery Center, and 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.

Workshop participants will work together in small groups at tables on exercises to help identify ideas, opportunities and challenges for the study area. Each table will have a facilitator. At the end of the workshop, each table will share their ideas with the entire room of participants. Work from the visioning workshop will be included and used to help formulate the study's results and deliverables, which include a future land use plan, a development scenario, potential industrial, civic and cultural uses, possible infrastructure improvements and market recommendations based on retail, office and residential uses.

Future Development

"We believe this area of downtown Murfreesboro has tremendous potential," said Donald Anthony, AICP, Principal Planner for the City of Murfreesboro and lead Murfreesboro planner for this project. "The area has a rich cultural history and has multiple natural resources in place that could be developed into a real destination area. Right now, a large part of the study area feels separate and apart from our historic downtown, due to the street network and the boundaries of Broad Street and the railroad. One of our hopes is 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."

"It's really important that we hear from the community about this area of Murfreesboro, which we believe is a hidden gem," said Randy Caldwell, Ragan-Smith Executive Vice President and a registered landscape architect (RLA). "We want to see a large crowd at the Visioning Workshop to help us craft a vision for this area that could really extend our downtown and help it grow and expand. The study area currently has a mixture of uses, and of course, the presence of Broad Street as a key collector road running through the study's center is a significant factor. One of the things we are looking at is how best to create good accessibility between downtown and the Historic Bottoms."

Also working with the City and with the Ragan-Smith team is a Steering Committee, appointed by Mayor McFarland, which includes: Dave Baughman, Gloria Christy, Doug Cook, Scott Foster, John Harney, Bruce Hooper, Paul Latture, Tara MacDougall, Ryan Maloney, Lee "Ozzy" Nelson, Dale Robertson, Chase Salas and Ron Washington.

The City of Murfreesboro and Ragan-Smith Associates are conducting a planning study to strengthen and enhance this area of downtown and urge the community to participate throughout the process. 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.

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. 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.

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.

More Information

Follow and join the Historic Bottoms Planning Study on Facebook at

For information about "The Bottoms" project, contact Donald Anthony, Murfreesboro Planning, at 615.893.6441 or via email at

Read more from:
2016, Aug. 9, Historic Bottoms Planning Study, Patterson Community Center, Tuesday, WGNS
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