Dean offers hotel tax revenue to help repair Opry House

Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 4:57pm
Mayor Karl Dean talks with Gaylord CEO Colin Reed inside the Grand Ole Opry House.

An ordinance drafted by Mayor Karl Dean and his administration would redirect a portion of revenue collected from the city’s hotel taxes to repair flood-related damages to Gaylord Opryland’s Grand Ole Opry House.

At a news conference inside the famous hall, which sustained an estimated $20 million in damages, Gaylord CEO Colin Reed turned to Dean, extended his hand and said, “Thank you.”

The bill is expected to be filed on Friday, enabling it to go before the Metro Council on first reading July 20.

“The operation of this Opry House has a very real and tangible impact on the bottom-line of many businesses in Nashville’s hospitality and tourism industry,” Dean said. “This legislation will help get the doors of the Opry House back open.”

In reality, the ordinance would redirect a portion of the city’s hotel tax that was intended to help Gaylord from the beginning.

The Metro Council, in 2007, adopted a 1 percent hike to the city’s hotel/motel tax to increase revenue to construct a new convention center. In Gaylord’s case, the council agreed to direct the portion of the 1 percent addition that falls within its tourism development zone to the then-planned expansion of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. The expansion is still on hold as a result of the nation’s economic downturn.

Following Nashville’s historic flood, Reed had asked that revenue from Gaylord’s share of the hotel tax be used for repair costs instead. The ordinance proposed by Dean would only extend to the Opry House, not Gaylord’s convention center and hotel, which endured far greater damages.

To date, $1.6 million has been collected through Gaylord’s portion of the tax, with $1.2 million raised on an annual basis. With the $20 million damage estimate in mind, Dean’s proposal would reallocate the tax revenue for the next 15 years. Gaylord would be required to submit a yearly report detailing how the money is being used.

Reed said he expects the Opry House to reopen in October.

In the aftermath of the flood, the company has been forced to temporarily lay off 1,700 employees. He also said fewer convention groups are coming to Nashville with Gaylord’s hotel and convention center not set to open until mid-November.

“The facts are the facts, and it’s in everyone’s best interest –– I think the city, Music Valley and our company –– that we get the businesses up and running as quick as possible,” Reed said.

As part of Dean’s proposal, he’s also asked the council to set aside $200,000 to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau to help develop a “marketing and advertising program” to help boost activity within Music Valley, the business district that surrounds Opryland’s hotel and convention center.

“We’re going to really work toward a major valley-wide celebration of the return of the Opry,” said Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

According to Metro Councilman Phil Claiborne, who represents the area, some companies in Music Valley have seen a 60 to 70 percent drop in business in the two months following the flood.

“That’s because of the loss of the Opry grounds,” Claiborne said.

6 Comments on this post:

By: Cgreen on 7/8/10 at 3:53

We Need A theme park!!!

By: idgaf on 7/8/10 at 5:02

"The Metro Council, in 2007, adopted a 1 percent hike to the city’s hotel/motel tax to increase revenue to construct a new convention center."

How is he/we going to pay for the MCC when they lied to us then shift the funds to another purpose?

This is nothing but more corporate welfare for a company that already got plenty and extorted money to ALLOW us to go in debt for the MCC which we don't need or want.

We have to take back our government or prepare to work for them rather then the intent of them working for us.

Does anyone thing for one moment that the part time council will not rubber stamp this giveaway in the name of "for the good of the people"?

Government at all levals is out of control.

Again I ask how are we going to pay for the MCC when private financial institutions have already establish it won't pay for itself even with the dedicated funding that they now want to give to Gaylord? HOW? By stealing it from you that's how.

By: weescot on 7/8/10 at 6:25

You may "need" a theme park, personally I don't.

By: TakePrideInNash on 7/9/10 at 1:18

idgaf you are one very sad person. It did not take long for me to figure you out. You would complain if someone gave you $1,000,000. Do you really think anyone takes you seriously?

By: border collie on 7/9/10 at 2:09

Why should my tax dollars pay for this??? what about the country music artists who have become millionaires due to country music ? why don't they give back?
They can throw extravagant parties and own airplanes but none will offer to fund the mother church of country music. Very interesting!
personally, my roof had to be replaced and my insurance did not cover it. FEMA did not care either. who is going to help me??? No-one cause i am just a lowly, working class, taxpayer....make too much money to get ANY help and live paycheck to paycheck

By: idgaf on 7/9/10 at 7:09

TPIN if you had pride in nashville you would want them to act like a representative republic not socialist/progressives that think they have a right to redistribute wealth.

The continuosly whine they don't have enough money but that don't stop them from spending and giving money away. That is not governments function.

They work for us or at least are supposed to not we for them.