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Nashville Initiates Study on Downtown Riverbank Safety in Wake of Student’s Tragic Death

Riverbank safety assessment concept

Nashville to Study Downtown Riverbank Safety After Student Death

Metro Council’s Unanimous Decision for Safety Analysis

In light of the death of Missouri student Riley Strain and the subsequent fall of another man from the same location, Metro Nashville has decided to embark on a comprehensive study of safety along the Cumberland riverbank. The consensus came on Tuesday when the council unanimously approved a resolution seeking a detailed report with “recommended changes to increase safety, security, housing resources for the unhoused, and cleanliness along the riverbank within the downtown interstate loop.”

Safety and Cleanliness: Two Major Concerns

The primary area of focus in the report will be the safety and cleanliness of the riverfront, which has witnessed increasing popularity in recent years. The welfare of unhoused Nashvillians, who frequently inhabit the riverbank, will also be a primary concern during this investigation. Measures such as strategically placed lighting, fencing and safe access points are being considered to decrease hazardous situations and prevent future tragedies.

Transparency in the Process

The resolution strongly mandates the final report to be submitted to the Metro Council by March 8, 2025, marking the first anniversary of the day Riley Strain disappeared. Among other things, the report would contain an in-depth audit of current safety infrastructures, implementation strategies to reduce litter on the riverfront, an account of the needs of unhoused inhabitants of the riverbank, and a thorough review of any legalities that might need addressing to achieve these objectives.

Immediate Remedies Called For

While the report is underway, the resolution also instructs Metro departments to commence with immediate measures to alleviate some of the pressing issues. These include securing unsafe areas, commencing regular litter clean-ups and fostering a more engaged relationship with the unhoused citizens of the area.

Who Owns What?

The land surrounding the river is owned by a variety of entities: Metro, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and several private entities. The report, when released, will detail the responsibilities incumbent on each entity with regard to ensuring compliance with the recommendations of the study.

Voices Against And Support For the Study

Despite the tragic incident, the resolution has been met with mixed reactions. Several river businesses have voiced their support. Projecting her stance, Annie Klaver, the owner-operator of River Queen Voyages stated, “We encourage the council to include and incorporate the use of the Cumberland River into budgeting and planning.” Similarly, Andrew Ostrowski of Boat Rental Nashville echoed in favor of the study, expressing optimism for the city’s future support of water taxi initiatives. However, Nashville resident Steve Reiter voiced his contrarian stance, “I will object to any type of barrier to access the Cumberland River,” he stated.

Nashville Initiates Study on Downtown Riverbank Safety in Wake of Student's Tragic Death

HERE Nashville
Author: HERE Nashville

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