The Donelson Gateway Project is an all volunteer cooperative effort whose purpose is to create landscaped “Gateways” to Donelson’s Neighborhoods and Business District. Beginning in April 2008, the site known as ”Phase 1″ of the project, located at interchange of Lebanon Road – Briley Parkway, began the process of addressing each entrance to the community. Since then additional sites have been added including the Donelson Branch Library in 2009 then Bel-Aire Bluff and The South Entrance in 2010 with additional sites being added each season.
This grassroots effort began after the completion of the lengthy Briley Parkway expansion project. A few concerned citizens approached state officials to address the grey concrete vistas left from the construction. After receiving the “green light” from TDOT, organizers moved forward with a plan to fill the lifeless void with nature’s beauty.
The first phase is located on the SE side of Lebanon Road and Briley Parkway. The current plan includes trees, flowers, grasses, and shrubs that are low maintenance, disease and pest resistant, and drought tolerant. David Cook, our resident horticulturist and UT Extension Agent for Davidson County, along with Enviroscapes LLC, and J.V.I Water Gardens and other local landscapers are donating the expertise and guidance for selection of appropriate plantings. They have developed a long reaching plan for the approximately 2 acres in the site.
In the first phase, we will have 5-7 large-caliber Maples in a variety of species. Autumn Blaze, Autumn Flame, October Glory, and Red Sunset are the suggested favorites. We will also include Redbud varieties such as Eastern and Forest Pansy.
Varieties of Crepe Myrtles will be the mid layer with Red Cheyenne, Christiana, and Siren Red. There will be groupings of Fountain Grasses and other ornamental grasses of distinction.
For seasonal color, mass plantings of Tennessee Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susan, Knock Out Roses, Shasta Daisy and Stella D’Oro Day Lily will be the base layer.
One of the more ambitious goals for the DGP is to promote the growth of wildflowers in the grassy medians of Lebanon Road between the Stones River and Downeymeade Drive. This will be a multi year, multi phase project involving lots of labor and financial resources. The medians were overseeded in the fall of 2012. While the east end of the median was thick with yellow cone flowers in June and July…other portions did not yield as much color due to competing tall grass and weeds This summer, several volunteers manually pulled competing plants one by one. These efforts, along with additional overseeing, will hopefully produce vibrant colors that will enhance the roadscape along Lebanon Road.