TDOT rejects request to block view of N.B Forrest statute

The state of Tennessee has denied the request of Nashville’s Metro Council to plant trees and vegetation to block the view of a controversial Nathan Bedford Forrest statue on Interstate 65, reports The Tennessean.

The Metro Council approved a resolution earlier this month that asks the Tennessee Department of Transportation “take the necessary action” to plant vegetation to block the view of the private owned statue” that stands along the interstate.

But TDOT commissioner John Schroer informed the council on Monday morning that it does not plant vegetation on its property for the sole purpose of blocking items on nearby private land.

Schoer’s response reads:

“TDOT does not plant foliage on its right-of-way with the sole intention of blocking items on private property based on what might be offensive to some and not to others. Therefore, the request of Metro Nashville’s Council to have TDOT plant vegetation on I-65 near the Harding Place Exit is respectfully denied.”

…At issue is a 25-foot fiberglass Forrest statue, designed by the late sculptor and attorney Jack Kershaw, erected on private land in 1998 near Crieve Hall. Kershaw was among a series of attorneys hired by James Earl Ray after being convicted of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.