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Iconic F-86 jet leaves Centennial Park, bound for TN Air National Guard at Berry Field

(FOX 17 News)

An iconic part of Centennial Park is being moved.

The F-86 L Sabre Jet was scheduled to leave the park on Monday. It's being returned to its home with the Tennessee Air National Guard at Berry Field.

The jet is owned by the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, which agreed on the transfer.

"If you get the opportunity to get a display aircraft like this, you generally take it because this is really great to have," Lt. Col. Marty Malone said.

Centennial Park has been the home of the jet since 1961. It's since been used as play equipment for children. Many long-time Nashvillians are upset at the decision to move the train and the nearby F-86 L Saber Jet to make way for Metro Parks Master Plan.

"It's the decision of the boards of Metro Parks to take this down and put up something that's probably more cool more chic or what not," Loriayne Smith said.

"Over time when the funding becomes available this area of the park, the northwest corner will be redesigned, and it will include a large amphitheater, performing arts venue and other landscape improvements," said Tim Netsch, assistant director of the Parks Planning Divison.

Preservationists have other plans for the steam locomotive.

"We signed a lease with the city of Nashville to remove the locomotive from the park to a mechanical restoration and to operation and use it as a heritage tours to traction for Downtown Nashville," said Joey Bryan of the Nashville Steam Preservation Society.

It's a new chapter for two historic pieces of Metro Parks History.

"It’s been great to have the jet in the park," Netsch said. "I think people associated it with Centennial Park. A lot of people have visited over the years, taken pictures of it themselves in front of that so it’s an important part of the parts history and it’s going home."

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