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How Tennessee’s coping with flooding

Marketplace Staff May 5, 2010

How Tennessee’s coping with flooding

Marketplace Staff May 5, 2010


Kai Ryssdal: The heart of country music is slowly getting back to business today. Nashville, Tenn., was pelted by 13 inches of rain over the weekend. The Cumberland River topped its banks and left large parts of downtown under water.

Kyle Young is the director of the Country Music Hall of Fame right there in Nashville. Mr. Young, it’s good to have you with us.

Kyle Young: Thank you, Kai, happy to be here.

Ryssdal: How badly was the hall of fame and museum hit by these floods?

YOUNG: Well, you know, it was a pretty tense couple of days, but all things considered we came out of it in pretty good shape, Kai.

Ryssdal: Give me some specifics. How are you doing? Have you lost any exhibits or performance spaces?

YOUNG: Well, I’ll tell you, our collection is about 70 feet off the ground. When we were designing this building, we were designing to withstand a 100-year flood, and I think that’s just what we had. So throughout the whole ordeal we were not worried at all about our collection or our exhibition. We did sustain some damage. You know, what happened to us is on the east side of our building, which is the lowest elevation of the whole building, water came in and collected in a mechanical room, you know, about five feet of water, and it ended up moving out of there and into a performance space here at the museum the Ford Theatre. You know, at one point there was a foot, foot-and-a-half of water in the Ford Theatre. It’s dry now and we’re already moving through the remediation programs.

Ryssdal: You know, you guys have a great district there in downtown. It’s bars, and music performance spaces, and all kinds of good stuff. Is it going to be tough to get that back to where you need it to be?

YOUNG: Well, you know, you’re describing an area downtown, lower Broadway, which is actually a block from where we are, and Honky Tonk is already open. There is power in most of those places. And last night, there was music coming out onto Broadway. We, in fact, would be ready to open here as soon as the city restores the grid.

Ryssdal: The electrical grid.

YOUNG: The electrical grid. We’re without electricity now but NES was just out, and they’re saying Thursday, definitely Friday.

Ryssdal: For the Nashville Electrical Services, yeah?

YOUNG: You got it.

Ryssdal: Folks holding up pretty well?

YOUNG: Well, yeah everybody is pretty tired. And a couple of days we went through are unlike any two I’ve ever been through because the one thing that you really learn is that the river kind of keeps moving, it’s inexorable, it just kind of moves toward, gets closer and closer, and at one point, again, on the east side of our building, there was about 4.5 feet of water out there. Pretty harrowing, actually.

Ryssdal: Kyle Young. He’s the director of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. Mr. Young, thanks a lot for your time.

YOUNG: You’re welcome, Kai.

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