On the Indian Lake Peninsula in Hendersonville, Tennessee, congestion was getting worse, schools were jam-packed, and the city was struggling to keep up with existing infrastructure. No greenspace had been preserved in over 12 years, and it was the only part of the city with no public park.
Everything changed when a community came together to inspire a movement and leave a legacy for future generations.
The Mayor of Hendersonville formed two committees of interested citizens to explore ways to acquire the only remaining undeveloped land on the Indian Lake Peninsula. The property, known to many as the historic "Batey Farm," had two tracts (farm and hill land) of 73 acres up for sale at Indian Lake Road and East Drive.
Eventually, these two committees morphed into one and a subset of the group became the Board of Directors of the Friends of Indian Lake Peninsula (FOFILP) nonprofit formed in February 2018.
January 15, 2018
The first of two community meetings was held at First Baptist Church, the largest private venue in Hendersonville. The leaders of the effort presented their vision for the land to a packed house, and the community responded with a giant surge of pledges to support the project.
The nonprofit corporation “Friends of Indian Lake Peninsula” (FOFILP) was founded in order to conserve land throughout the city and create greenspace and park land for the benefit of all residents. Although no funds had been collected at this point, FOFILP members had been attending meetings and laying the groundwork to kickstart the Batey Farm effort. FOFILP intended to maintain the land as a passive, open-space park, and preserve a natural environment with public access forever.
March 13, 2018
The City of Hendersonville Mayor and Board of Aldermen passed a resolution to purchase and preserve the lower 35 acres of the Batey Farm property for $3 million. FOFILP hoped to purchase the upper 38 acres once it reached $1 million in donated funds so that the two parcels could be combined for an eventual 73-acre park.
In order to show the city and the sellers that FOFILP was serious about its commitment, it raised—in 10 short days leading up to March 13—over $650,000 in private donations to purchase the upper 38 acres. The resolution passed 7-6 in a historic vote, and FOFILP began urgently working to raise the remainder of the $1 million needed to purchase the upper tract before the agreement expired on July 2nd.
May 30, 2018
The City of Hendersonville closed the deal to buy the lower, 35-acre section of the property.
June 13, 2018
TennGreen formed an alliance with FOFILP to protect this last remaining open space on the Indian Lake Peninsula.
“We are excited and proud to collaborate with the Friends of Indian Lake Peninsula,” said Steve Law, Executive Director of TennGreen. “We applaud their extraordinary commitment to conserve this community forest for the benefit of all Hendersonville residents.”
Ken Verble, Chairman of the Board of FOFILP, added, “We are excited to add TennGreen’s contribution to the work we have done and to the relationship we have built with the City of Hendersonville to leave a legacy for future generations. The support from this community and the speed that we have displayed in getting this far is unprecedented. We know that working with TennGreen will help us achieve our goals.”
June 26, 2018
The Board of FOFILP announced that it had surpassed its goal of $1 million to purchase the Batey Farm hill, giving the organization room to cover the full purchase price and some of the additional closing and insurance costs.
July 2, 2018
The Board of FOFILP closed the deal to buy the pristine, 38-acre “Batey Farm” property.
This success would not have been possible without the efforts of many community supporters, who captured the imaginations of thousands of people in Hendersonville and enabled the organization to raise the $1 million in the remarkably short period of only four months. Over 850 households contributed to the effort; about 40% of those donations were $200 or less. This movement touched the hearts of many, from donors in eleven other states to local children running lemonade stands (several netting over $1000), selling their toys, issuing online video challenges, and doing chores to earn money to take to Capstar Bank in Hendersonville to make their donations in person.
In addition to reaching its $1 million goal, FOFILP recently received a sizeable, anonymous donation from an individual who designated it to kick-start Phase 2. This generous gift allows the organization to begin covering operating expenses for the first time and seed the fund for eventual improvements to the land.
Now that FOFILP has bought the property, TennGreen and FOFILP expect their alliance to result in a conservation easement eventually being placed on the hill to protect it from further development. The timing and scope of the easement will be worked out in the future. Over the next few years, FOFILP plans to do the following:
Offer assistance to the City and its new, soon-to-be-hired Parks Director to jointly conduct a round of community meetings. It is hoped that these meetings will start this Fall to update everyone on current status and gather ideas for a vision for the farm and the hill
Prepare a more detailed plan with input gathered from the community meetings and apply for grants for the minimal improvements they will eventually make to the hill (trails, etc.). FOFILP also hopes it can help get grants for the vision developed for the city’s 35-acre farm
Make the minimal improvements to the hill that help make it accessible to all while preserving its passive nature
Work with TennGreen to put a conservation easement on the hill to prevent any future development
Donate the property to the City of Hendersonville as a passive park that is a 3-minute drive from Main Street
Although FOFILP has officially closed on the 38-acre property, there is still much work left to do! We are proud to play a small role in this project, and we ask for your continued support to get FOFILP's Phase 2 campaign started and make this passive park a reality.
See below to give support today!
Click the video to hear how four-year-old Hannah is raising money to save Batey Farm, the home of "her deer."
Song Parody of "Delicate" by Taylor Swift, created by grandchildren of residents on the Indian Lake Peninsula in order to raise awareness about the Batey Hill Farm.