State Sets New Grounds Policy In Light of ‘Criminal Activity,’ ‘Deteriorating Sanitary Conditions’ During Occupy Nashville Stay

Statement from the Department of General Services; Oct. 27, 2011: 

“Criminal activity and deteriorating sanitary conditions over the past several days on Legislative Plaza have created an environment that is unsafe for the protestors, state employees and everyone who works, lives and enjoys downtown. As a result, the Department of General Services is adding to its policy for permitting and use of Legislative Plaza, the War Memorial Building and the Capitol grounds. Permits will be granted on a daily basis from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Use policy is attached. What’s new here is that we’re now requiring people to get a permit, as opposed to asking them to get a permit from General Services. The reason for doing that, historically, is to prevent events from interfering with each other – we actually have a few weddings on the plaza each year. ALSO, the curfew is new.” — Department Spokeswoman Lola Potter.

LEGISLATIVE PLAZA, WAR MEMORIAL COURTYARD AND CAPITOL GROUNDS USE POLICY

Department of General Services

Effective immediately and until further notice, all assemblies and gatherings of persons on the State of Tennessee Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard and Capitol grounds areas in Nashville, Tennessee shall require a use permit from the Tennessee Department of General Services. Use of any portion of the Capitol grounds also requires the approval of the Tennessee Capitol Commission.

The Department of General Services may issue permits upon proper application and satisfaction of use fees, security and liability insurance requirements for use of the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard and Capitol grounds between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Special use permits for the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard and Capitol grounds during hours outside of the 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. period may be approved at the discretion of the Department on a case by case basis.

Notwithstanding the above, the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard and Capitol grounds areas are closed to the public from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. daily and no person shall enter upon those premises during this curfew period without specific authorization by the State of Tennessee. In no event shall overnight occupancy of the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard or Capitol grounds areas be permitted by any group or individual.

The foregoing policy is issued under the authority of T. C. A. § 4-8-101 and in the interest of protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public. Issued this 27th day of October, 2011 by the Tennessee Department of General Services.