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Members of 170-year-old Nashville church worried about new proposed high rise

By Maranda Whittington,

2023-03-14

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Holy Trinity Episcopal Church has survived the changes Nashville has experienced for over 170 years.

“I remember vividly the vacation Bible schools,” said Bill Forrester.

Six generations of Forrester’s family have sat in the church’s pews.

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“The same baptismal fountain that I was baptized in, my kids and two grandkids were christened in that same baptismal fountain,” he said.

The historic church was built in 1852, having ties to the Civil War.

In the early 1900’s the church became an African American congregation, with many members attending Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, and Tennessee State University.

“People would come from Bordeaux, North Nashville, South Nashville, West Nashville,” said Forrester.

But Forrester knew early on that changes to the area were coming.

“In 1981, I could really see it,” he said.

Now decades later, another change Forrester believes will greatly impact the church is approaching.

In December, VeLa Development Partners announced they would be building a 32-story high rise right across the street from Holy Trinity.

“There are a lot of concerns,” said Forrester.

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Forrester said the project would eliminate what little parking the church has, and he’s worried about the impact blasting would have on their building.

“This building was built in 1852, and so there’s going to be some shifting,” he said. “There’s got to be some shifting.”

Forrester is also worried about how they will continue to serve the homeless and grow their congregation once construction begins.

“We would have to really be creative to come up with a plan that would attract people to come into a construction site,” he said.

While this is a big worry for Forrester and other members, he knows they’ll find a way to survive all of this.

“It’s going to be rocky…seriously rocky, but we’ll do okay,” he said. “We’ll do okay. It’s going to be okay.”

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News 2 spoke to Holy Trinity’s priest who told News 2 they are trying to work with the developers to address some of their major issues.

News 2 did reach out to VeLa Development Partners about the church’s concerns and received the following statement:

“The Holy Trinity Episcopal Church is an important part of the historic fabric of Nashville, and we are privileged to be its neighbor. We are in direct communication with church leadership to address any concerns they have.”

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WKRN News 2.

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