Brentwood city leaders announced Wednesday the closing of the sale of approximately 52 acres of land located at 9135 Old Smyrna Road for $5.2 million, or $100,000 per acre, from the Sensing family.
The land parcel is located on the east side of Interstate 65 at the intersection of Jones Parkway and Old Smyrna Road. Funding for the purchase came from a combination of the city’s General Fund balance, Adequate Facilities Taxes and $150,000 previously raised by the nonprofit group Brentwood Green Space for future park land acquisition and development.
The land will be maintained by the city in its current state until it is developed into the future Windy Hill Park.
“We have enjoyed the pastoral beauty of Windy Hill for the past 45 years and now are thankful it will be preserved for all to enjoy,” property owners Lucy and Wilbur Sensing said. “We also appreciate the efforts of The Conservation Fund and Brentwood to make this possible.”
The future park will serve the more than 1,900 homes and residents in the northern section of Brentwood, which is in accordance with the Brentwood 2030 Plan for Parks.
“The Sensings have been wonderful stewards of the land for many years, and I think it is appropriate that the city play a role in ensuring this property remains a community asset for the future,” Brentwood Mayor Rhea Little said.
The property will eventually undergo a future master planning process, with input from the community. The city’s goal is to turn it into a passive park, like Wikle or Deerwood parks, with no planned athletic programs. The basic vision is that it will one day have walking and bicycle trails, a playground and open field areas.
The Sensing family operated the property as a farm for many years, known as Windy Hill. The other 40 acres of the property, which includes the Constantine Sneed Historic House, a pond and outbuildings, is being placed into a conservation easement to ensure permanent preservation of all 92 acres.
“My parents and my sisters and brother and I are so honored to be able to dedicate this land to the future of Brentwood,” said Ben Sensing, the son of property owners Lucy and Wilbur Sensing, who signed the property closing documents. “For generations to come, citizens will be able to enjoy the green, open land thanks to my parents Lucy and Wilbur Sensing and their love of the beauty of God’s creation.”
The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit that works with public and private partners to protect land and water resources and support healthy and vibrant communities, helped to facilitate the land purchase. This same group assisted in the city’s purchase of nearly 400 acres for what is now Marcella Vivrette Smith Park.
Windy Hill was built by Constantine Perkins Sneed after his return from service in the War of 1812. True to its name, it stands tall and proud on a high point of land off Old Smyrna Road, between Wilson and Edmondson Pikes. The bricks are laid in a Flemish pattern. These bricks, as well as those for Old Smyrna Church, were made on the place.
Constantine's Sneed's parents, James and Bethania Perkins Sneed, came to the community in the late 1790s from Danville, Virginia, having a North Carolina land grant. James Sneed built the frame house, which stands very close to Smyrna Road, just east of windy Hill, long occupied and still owned by the Constant Owen family (Owen was a great-grandson of James Sneed).
The house was vacant for many years but still stands as a symbol of the material and workmanship that went into it so long ago.