By Ashley Benkarski
NASHVILLE, TN — Nashville’s own DeLisa Guerrier, 34, is spearheading an endeavor to bolster childhood literacy by bringing an innovative and unique attraction to the Nashville area.
Storyville Gardens is Guerrier’s inaugural venture in the amusement park industry and has received $316 million in capital fundraising.
Slated to open to the public in 2025, the park is one way for Guerrier to give back to the community by “creating a foundation where kids read for fun.”
It was all designed for two reasons, she said, the first being that as a mother she has struggled finding a variety of exciting things to do in Nashville. Grateful for attractions such as the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere and Adventure Science Center, Guerrier said she just felt something was missing.
She considered Tennessee’s abysmal child literacy rating (48th out of 50 states) and that nearly half of children in the state are not up to grade level reading. Further, she noted, when kids read for fun their test scores increase.
“When kids aren’t reading outside of the classroom, to me it’s just a natural need to bridge the gap [in literacy],” Guerrier said.
The park’s nonprofit arm, the Nashville Literacy Center, will operate as a hub for literacy and reading recovery programs and provide space for kids to engage in recreational activities.
She and her husband Elde own Guerrier Development, a local real estate development and investment firm in operation since 2011.
A graduate of Tennessee State University, Guerrier is one of the few Black women in the state licensed as a general contractor for commercial, residential and industrial development, the firm’s website notes.
She was honored Tuesday, November 16 as the youngest woman to be inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame for 2021 at the organization’s celebration in Clearwater, Florida.
Guerrier will also grace the cover of this Fall’s issue of Enterprising Women.
“I’m just humbled and grateful and just really ready to see a change and be a part of the change,” she said. “God gives ideas to those who he knows can execute, and sometimes we doubt ourselves, but all you need to do is take one step every day.”
You can find more on Mrs. Guerrier and the development firm at guerrierdevelopment.com.