New Murfreesboro road plans spare 210-year-old Batey farm

Scott Broden, The Daily News Journal, October 13, 2017

Murfreesboro officials plan for the next Interstate 24 interchange to be onto an extended Cherry Lane and widened Blackman Road. Scott Broden/DNJ

Murfreesboro’s new road plans will avoid cutting through John L. Batey’s 210-year-old family farm.

“It’s a whole lot better proposal than what they had before,” said Batey, who operates a 400-acre farm raising hogs and crops on both sides of Baker Road.

The city’s old plans in the 2025 Major Thoroughfare Plan called for extending the five-lane Veterans Parkway from Burnt Knob Road to an interchange at Interstate 24.  This route would extend the parkway through Batey’s historic farm.

The new proposed 2040 Major Thoroughfare Plan mostly leaves Batey’s farm alone by routing Veterans more to the west through foothills to link with Baker Road.

The new plan also would widen a portion of Baker to three lanes by Batey’s farm between Veterans Parkway and Blackman Road.

Blackman would also be widened to five lanes that lead to a west-side park to the south and a proposed Interstate 24 interchange to the north.

Old road plan comes within 75 feet of Batey family cemetery.

Mayor Shane McFarland said the city has talked with Batey and other property owners about road plans.

“It’s not our goal to forcibly take anyone’s land,” said McFarland, who has also talked about road plans with Batey’s son-in-law Brandon Whitt.

A father of four, Whitt hopes to keep the historic farm going for all of Batey’s children and grandchildren.

The old road plan would route Veterans Parkway within 75 feet of the Batey family’s cemetery while splitting the farm in two, Whitt said.

“Anything that preserves as much farmland and green space as possible we’re going to be in favor of,” Whitt said.

Reach Scott Broden at 615-278-5158. Follow him on Twitter @ScottBroden.

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