Bill to spare fairgrounds racetrack for now clears final council vote

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 10:20pm

A bill that at least momentarily preserves the Fairgrounds Speedway awaits the signature of Mayor Karl Dean, as the Metro Council Tuesday night took its final vote to call for a new master plan to dictate the future of the hotly debated fairgrounds property.

The legislation, which the council cleared on the final of three votes Tuesday, also keeps the Tennessee State Fair at the Nolensville Pike property through 2012, and retains the property’s expo center until a new location is found.

Two weeks ago, the council drastically altered the legislation from a bill that would have demolished the racetrack to one that preserves the racetrack until the creation of the master plan concludes. The master plan, to be piloted by the fair board, Metro Planning Department and Metro Parks and Recreation Department, would seemingly call for racing to either continue or end.

The racetrack’s preservation is a setback to Dean’s intentions to redevelop the fairgrounds.

Metro Councilman Jason Holleman, who proposed the amendment that transformed the legislation, said it’s important to engage all stakeholders during the master-planning process.

“We have to engage a professional planning consultant that understands how to go about a master plan for this site,” Holleman said. “And we need to be sure that we thoughtfully include all of the various interest groups that have voiced their opinions.”

The master plan is to address the construction of an already-approved fairgrounds park, the restoration of nearby Browns Creek, the future of existing facilities including the racetrack, the possible addition of mixed-used development and necessary zoning changes. There is no set timeline for the creation of the plan, which will face a council vote once finalized.

Earlier Tuesday, the five-member fair board discussed both the 2011 and 2012 state fairs, as well as the next year of expo center events at the fairgrounds property.

Racing promoter Tony Formosa presented a letter to the board expressing interest in leasing the racetrack for the 2011 and 2012 season. The fair board hasn’t indicated whether it’s interested in hosting races for another year.

In another order of business and as expected, the council voted to defer an ordinance that would require businesses that contract with Metro to adopt a non-discrimination policy that protects gay, lesbian and transgender citizens.

The deferral came at the request of Metro Councilman Mike Jameson, one of the bill’s three lead sponsors. The bill was up for a second reading.

Of note, Jameson explained his motion to defer by suggesting that most opponents are fueled by the belief that people choose to be gay or lesbian.

10 Comments on this post:

By: localboy on 2/2/11 at 9:42

I'm sure the mayor can't wait to sign that bill...:)

By: RJP on 2/2/11 at 10:43

rjp Shows no planning on the mayors and the council, have no plans or drawings of what the site could look like. Demolish the site that brings in income before anyone has a master plan! Has anyone seen the first plan. In short order a group of people that want to save the site have a drawing with park included. Hey news groups can we get a look at that drawing on tv or in the paper. Some one has a plan it is not our city goverment!

By: zmania on 2/2/11 at 8:06

Getting rid of the fairgrounds have been in the works for years and just now some people want to develope a master plan to save it.!? This doesn't make any sense. A plan should've been in the works over a year ago before all this confusion about where to put the state fair and the flea market.
This is nothing but an attempt to apease certain people at the tax payers expense.
The location is horrible, right in the middle of a residential area. There's no hotels nearby and it continues to be a money pit for the tax payers.
If there are all these investers interested in a racetrack in Nashville, I recommend moving the entre fairgrounds to another location, possibly in the area of Opry Mills and build up around it. There's plenty of open land out there as far as I can tell. Its just a suggestion.

By: fair_minded on 2/2/11 at 11:48

zmania - you obviously have not been paying attention and are also extremely ill-informed.

"getting rid of the fairgrounds" has only been made public in the past 2.5 years-- and has been extensively opposed ever since it was announced. although we have come to find out that the Fair Board, some of it's employees, and several individuals in the metro administration have been undermining the fairgrounds for years, trying to set it up for failure.

and then the mayor announces his plan to destroy it, and replace it with *what*?? we're still waiting to hear *his* plan....

the current proposal by fairgrounds supporters is in response to the lack of any plan from the mayor or the fair board.

and you stated that the place was a "money pit for the tax payers", but the truth is the tax payers have never put a dime into the property... it has been totally self-sustaining for over a hundred years. It was not even purchased with tax money... it was purchased with funds from a special bond issue authorized by the State Legislature, and approved by the citizens of Davidson County in a referendum.

So why move the racetrack?? it's there, it's paid for, and it belongs to the citizens... the neighbors moved in around the race track, it was not placed in their neighborhood, they moved into it's neighborhood. There are several cities with a fairgrounds/racetrack in the downtown area-- Milwaukee and Indianapolis come immediately to mind- so it's not like this was a radical idea.

And if there is all this open land in the county (which there is) let the mayor go develop *that* land instead of the "people's convention center."

By: anjnew on 2/3/11 at 8:38

I can't wait to see the plans for the fairgrounds, it will finally get the attention it deserves. There is a lot of money to be made if it is done correctly. It is an excellent venue for concerts, rally's, and events in Nashville. It just needs a major facelift.

Yes, fair-minded, thank you for bringing attention to the fact that the neighborhoods were built around it! I get so tired of hearing people complain about the noise...YOU SHOULDN'T have moved next door to a track if you didn't want to hear it.

I also believe a redevelopment of the track will bring better property values to a neighborhood that is (sorry but true) a dump.

By: Community-carl-... on 2/3/11 at 9:02

The Fairgrounds and ALL its activities have filled important social, sport, and entertainment niches for our community for over a century. In spite of Dean's efforts to sabatoge and torpedo it, it still is clinging to life, thanks to strong citizen support thus far. As long as Dean is able to appoint people to the Fairboard, its longterm viability will be threatened, and it will not be allowed to flourish as it once did.

The Fairgrounds and Racetrack have great potential if ALLOWED to be successful.
More than anything else, assurance of its long term existence must be verified by Metro government before investors will be comfortable making significant commitments of financial and other resources. For this to happen, I think Karl Dean has got to go.

Save the fairgrounds....Make Dean a one-term-mayor.

By: yucchhii on 2/3/11 at 9:24

It better clear ALL the votes!!! Mayor DINK and his puppets aka the council, have NO right to demolish anything WITHOUT the "LEGITIMATE" vote of the "PEOPLE". If the people say NO..."IT MEANS...NO!" In other words...'LEAVE IT ALONE!"

By: yucchhii on 2/3/11 at 9:26

Hey Karl DINK, I guess we have to RUB SOMETHING THAT YOU ALREADY KNOW IN YOUR UGLY FACE...."YOU WORK FOR US...THE TAXPAYERS!! NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!"

By: pswindle on 2/3/11 at 5:05

It is the words,"for now" that bothers me. Keep an eye open, this still smells. If Dean gets elected again, he will not care, he will have the bulldozer in there so fast it will make your head spin.

By: justice2003 on 2/4/11 at 9:43

I've been Homeless for 20 years and have never been to a place like Nashville, witch is also the capotal of my hometown and out of all the things thats going on within this region,People are making tough descitions and should be facing tough life behind Bars.They should be ashamed of themselves taking advantage just for polital gain.They should be ashamed of themselves just by waking up every mornming looking in the mirrow thinking that they gotton away.Until one day ,a young man from Memphis who was sent to jail by some key members who had distriminated on him,Falsified Documents,Violated his Civil rights, and put him in jail for 32 days when all he was doing was visiting friends for Newyears and Christmas in the year 2007 saved the Fairgrounds due to Purgury and Misconduct Charges.One of his biggest idols is a man named Dr.B.HOOKS.One of his dieing wishes was for us as african american people who had been going through hardship was to learn to read, never give up,and reach for the stars.By the way,stearling martian i thought had the perfect plan to reduce the sound, a 25 million dollor plan,Mufflers.maybe!,We should put one on them.