Competing fairgrounds bill amendments challenge future of auto racing

Friday, January 14, 2011 at 6:37pm

A pair of Metro Council members on Friday filed separate but very similar amendments to a bill that would help settle the future of the 117-acre fairgrounds property. The key difference: One would all but forbid racing at the site.

Filed as two separate substitute bills, each would require that a new “master plan” be developed to determine the future of the Metro-owned site. Both would keep the Tennessee State Fair at the fairgrounds until 2012 and cancel the demolition of the Fairgrounds Speedway, called for in the original bill.

But the amended legislation filed by Councilwoman Sandra Moore, the sponsor of the original bill, includes a clause that would forbid the fair board from entering into a contract to allow auto racing at the site unless a council majority approves a master plan that permits that use. The other bill, filed by Councilman Jason Holleman, does not include such a measure.

“I just don’t think that’s necessary language,” Holleman said.  

Both include new amendments that would keep the state fair at the property through 2012. The fairgrounds expo center, meanwhile, would remain at the site until a new location is identified and approved by the council through a resolution vote.

Council committees will be considering the amendments early next week, before the legislation heads to the full council on the second of three votes Tuesday night.

“The amendments came out of considering what was said at the work session on Jan. 8,” Moore said, referring to a council gathering last weekend.

The fair board would have to work with the Metro Department of Parks and Recreation to create a master plan for the future development and operations of the fairgrounds and its surrounding area.

As outlined in the proposed amendments, the master plan would have to address the following: provisions pertaining to the construction of the site’s already-approved 40-acre park; recommended modification and/or removal of existing facilities; planned development of the site for mixed-use purposes; recommended zoning or land-use policy changes for the site and surrounding areas; and suggested infrastructure improvements for the site that would “enhance the economic viability and livability of the area.”

The plan, which would take into account existing studies of the property, would need council approval to become a reality.

At a special fairgrounds work session last weekend, several council members expressed concerns about the bill and asked that the ordinance be deferred for at least one more council meeting. But some questions are addressed in these amendments, a clear indication that bill sponsors plan to move forward with a vote rather than requesting a deferral. 


12 Comments on this post:

By: CrimesDown on 1/15/11 at 12:10


By: wataboutbob on 1/15/11 at 6:12

Please save the raceway and help to restore it to its glory days. Nashville and stock car racing belongs together.

By: left on 1/15/11 at 9:02

Vote them out, VOTE THEM OUT!

By: nashtnman on 1/15/11 at 11:45

This is just like gas prices. They ran them up to $3 a gallon and everyone had a fit so they backed them down and now they are back up there and no one is saying a word.

They want to slowly strip the activities so it will be a drain on Nashville and another way to push legislation to get their way.

VOTE THEM OUT! Start at the top and everyone who does not listen to the majority of people must go. We are tired of back door dealing and crooked elected officials.


By: bfra on 1/15/11 at 1:16

Wonder how many laywers Karl is paying, with taxpayer's money, to get his agenda bulldozed over the public? He isn't smart enough to pull off this scam by himself!

The Fairgrounds belongs to the public, not 1 carpetbagger mayor!

By: hllawson on 1/15/11 at 1:56

I'm not from Nashville nor do I live there. However, I do travel there for business and pleasure. Every other fall I come up for the Vandy vs UGA game and on other occasions I come there on business. Nashville has some things to attract visitors but outside of the Nashville music scene there's not much reason to come to Nashville. I think the revitalization around the Fairgrounds that includes leasing of the race track for NASCAR related events would be a big draw for 2 or more races per year. I have no idea how many races or what other race associations could use the track but I believe that it would benefit Nashville and the visitors this type of development would draw. Just think, a local park that everyone could use, a walking trail/track, a clean and friendly environment for the fair, arts and crafts festival and the flea market. And to top it all off, environmentally friendly due to use of solar panels, clean water technology and sound barriers that would throttle the noise level for local residents. A wonderful idea that would have more private funds involved and less tax payer money. Lease it to the group headed by Sterling Marlin and you'll have a place Nashville will be proud of.

By: MAmom on 1/15/11 at 8:50

Instead of destroying it and building something generic there - WHY NOT MAKE THE FAIRGROUNDS A TOURIST ATTRACTION?

Most visitors who choose to come to Nashville EXPECT some traditional southern hospitality, something "country" and "old-fashioned". Activities like country music, racing, flea markets, etc. If they are disappointed and don't find this, these tourism visitors will not come back to the fancy convention center and other similar facilities.

So saving the Fairgrounds and running it professionally would be:
1. Good for the citizens of Metro and Middle Tennessee who are customers of Fairgrounds activities,
2. Good for the vendors,
3. Good for the local economy generically, and
There will be a critical Council meeting at the Courthouse this Tuesday, January 18, at 6 p.m. One of the bills they are voting on affects the future of the Fairgrounds.

If you can, please attend the meeting and let the Council know you are opposed to Dean's Fairgrounds "redevelopment" scheme.

Also, call or email your Council representative and let them know how you feel about this issue.
Save the Fairgrounds!

Make Dean a 1-term mayor.

By: wataboutbob on 1/15/11 at 9:31

Thanks MAmom but do we carry any voice from up here in Springfield?
We should! It's as important to Robertson county as it is to Davidson.
I'll come down to attend if there's any chance of making a difference.

tks. b

By: MAmom on 1/15/11 at 10:57


PLEASE come to the meeting because not just Nashvillians are affected by this & the meeting is open to the public.

At the Tuesday meeting we are supposed to be given an opportunity to speak to the Council. A limit of 3 minutes per individual - but it is a chance to explain why the Fairgrounds should not be "redeveloped" (destroyed/sold).

Also, why not communicate your concern about this to representatives in the State Legislature, the new Governor, and the Metro Council.

Hope to see you Tuesday evening at the meeting!


By: gage on 1/16/11 at 8:24

Williamson and Wilson Co. give money to there fair grounds.
Metro steals money away from The State Fair grounds to support LP Field and Bridgestone Arena.
King Dean is another Boss Hogg.

By: carguy on 1/16/11 at 9:37

Let your voice be heard by telling the City Council via the website which has a link.

As far as Dean is concerned he must have some political debt to pay off and that is why he needs this to go through. If racing stops at the Fairgrounds not only will I not vote for him again I'll convince everyone I can to vote aginst him come next election.


By: fair_minded on 1/16/11 at 1:24

Here is a link to the metro council with email addresses and phone numbers:

Write and call them-- let them know that you support preservation and improvement of the Fairgrounds-- NOT destruction!

Use these email addresses to contact the officers and board of the Chamber of Commerce about their ridiculous anti-business stand with dean (the CofC director as asked their 2,000 members to write Metro Council in support of dean).

Especially if you're a vendor, or otherwise employed full or part-time at the Fairgrounds or Fairgrounds-related activities---

Explain why your small business depends on the Fairgrounds
Encourage the Chamber to work for small businesses like they do big businesses
Express regret for the Chamber not being a voice for your entrepreneurial success
Be polite

And most of all -- be at the Metro Council meeting!

Tuesday, 6pm at the courthouse.

Wear something RED and let the council see a swelling sea of support for the Fairgrounds!

Car pool to the meeting! Bring your friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, club members-- people you meet in the grocery store! Everyone who supports the Fairgrounds and/or is opposed to the underhanded, un-democratic methods of this administration to demolish the Fairgrounds at *any* cost!

Together, we *can* make a difference.

Don't drink the Karl-Aid!