Instead of deferring his bill to preserve the fairgrounds as originally planned, Metro Councilman Eric Crafton has withdrawn it altogether.
The bill, which would limit the 117-acre fairgrounds property off Nolensville Pike to its current use, went before the council on second reading last night.
Crafton said he decided to withdraw the legislation to accommodate a task force that’s been assigned by Mayor Karl Dean to solicit community input to study the future of the fairgrounds. The task force, working in conjunction with the Nashville Civic Design Center, will kick off a series of public meetings on the topic Monday, April 12.
Still, Crafton’s withdrawal comes with a major caveat.
“If it’s determined they’re going to close the fairgrounds down, I’m not in favor of that, and we’ll bring back an alternative plan that will seek to preserve the fairgrounds,” Crafton said. “But, at this point, I’m satisfied to let the task force move forward.”
In other council business:
• The council voted 36-2 to award $250,000 to a woman wrongfully accused of forgery, settling a suit that had been slapped on Metro.
A series of errors on behalf of Metro police in 2006 led to the arrest of the wrong woman during a warrant sweep operation. The woman, who spent seven hours in custody and was televised by a news crew being placed in a police car, contended in the suit she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and severe emotional stress as a result of the incident.
Voting against the resolution to settle the case were council members Crafton and Robert Duvall.
• The council on second reading approved an ordinance that would increase Metro Codes building permit and other constructed-related fees by 30 percent overall.
Terrence Cobb, director of the codes department, introduced the ordinance after a consulting firm determined Metro had not been collecting a sufficient level of dollars through fees administered to acquire building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and other permits.
During the ongoing economic downtown, construction has been down; hence, fee collections are down, too.
The bill must clear one more council vote to become law.
• The council voted 33-4 to approve a memorializing resolution that asks Tennessee’s gubernatorial candidates to sign a pledge that, if elected, they would ensure Metro General its fair share of matching funds made available through Medicaid.
Shelby County approved a similar resolution in February that asks candidates for governor to sign a pledge to ensure adequate funding at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, the state’s largest safety net facility.