Dueling meetings set to discuss future of fairgrounds

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 11:45pm
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Nashvillians who want the State Fairgrounds to stay a fairgrounds are not going down without a fight.

A community meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Knowles Senior Center to drum up support for keeping the century-old facility open.

Thomas Watson, an organizer of the meeting, said despite the fair board’s decision to no longer hold the Tennessee State Fair at the Nolensville Road site, he and others like him plan to keep battling.

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” he said.

Watson cited a 1901 piece of state legislation that authorizes Davidson County to issue the bonds for the purchase of the fairgrounds, which he said puts Metro under obligation to host a permanent state fair at the site.

That argument’s been floated before and resulted in Mayor Karl Dean issuing a letter to the fair board “recommending” the closure of the fairgrounds — a recommendation the board acted on.

Nevertheless, Watson said the fair must go on.

“We have the mayor admitting the charter is correct and they can’t change the charter without a referendum and even if they change the charter, they can’t change state law,” he said.

Watson also disputes the notion that the fairgrounds loses money and that it lives off taxpayer dollars.

“It’s never got a dime and over the last five years, it’s turned a profit,” he said.

While Watson and his group will be fighting to maintain the status quo — a half-hour earlier on the other side of the fairgrounds, another meeting about the fairgrounds’ future will take place.

Council member Sandra Moore — whose district includes the fairgrounds — is hosting a public meeting at 6 p.m. in Wilson Hall to “discuss the process going forward for redevelopment plans,” according to Dean’s spokesperson Janel Lacy.

Moore did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday afternoon.

Watson said he is “aware” of the other public meeting.

“She ought to be [at the preservation meeting]. It sits in the middle of her district. We are going to have people handing out handbills in front of Wilson Hall inviting them to our meeting,” he said.

The preservation meeting will be hosted by former council member Ronnie Greer and Watson said a number of current council lmembers said they will attend.

 

26 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 1/20/10 at 7:34

Dean clearly wants to sell the land to the highest briber....er....bidder, there is probably a deal already being made in some back room.
After it's a done deal, then they will whine and apologize for breaking the state law.

You want to see how it goes? Just look at how Home Depot illegally demolished the(Jim Reeves) oldest house in the city---and got away with it.

We truly have the best government that dirty money can buy.

By: BEOWULF on 1/20/10 at 9:19

BEOWULF: Kosh, yours is the best of any response to be written - now and next! JR is an icon in C/W music...Fairgrounds? Look for the same...we have such a heartfelt respect for heritage and history!!!

By: TN4th on 1/20/10 at 9:49

Redevelopment would be a huge boon to a neighborhood that could really use it. It would provide tax revenues, jobs, and a boost to property values. I fail to see the source of the loyalty to an underutilized facility that does not provide jobs, revenues, or cachet. Let the state fair find some land that is more suited to a once-a-year celebration of tacky midways. Let the racetrack act like the private enterprise it is, and support its own facility.

By: TN4th on 1/20/10 at 9:51

Redevelopment would be a huge boon to a neighborhood that could really use it. It would provide tax revenues, jobs, and a boost to property values. I fail to see the source of the loyalty to an underutilized facility that does not provide jobs, revenues, or cachet. Let the state fair find some land that is more suited to a once-a-year celebration of tacky midways. Let the racetrack act like the private enterprise it is, and support its own facility.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 9:57

I totally agree, TN4th, and i live in that neighborhood.

By: 117_acres on 1/20/10 at 11:18

Fairground Heritage Preservation Group should be called the Racetrack Heritage Preservation Group. Ladies and Gentleman Thomas Watson and the rest of this group are only concerned about one thing and that is the racetrack. Also, Council Lady Moore represents District 17 and can call a meeting for her constituency any time she sees fit. If you don’t believe that this group is all about saving the racetrack please visit this link and you will see what these people really care about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3VJa7XEomo

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 11:23

117, you are correct.

By: FHPG on 1/20/10 at 12:07

TN4 - redevelopment would wipe out that neighborhood, pricing the real estate beyond what the current residents could afford to pay, many of whom are elderly and have owned their homes there for many years. And it's about the only neighborhood left on the south side where middle class people can actually afford to live now. The fairgrounds costs Metro nothing, and brings an estimated $60 million into the county each year, with over 1 million visitors-- about half of what Metro is buying with the new billion dollar civic center.

117_acres ... We've discussed this to pieces, and you know very well, that the race track is a secondary issue-- and that i'm not even a race fan! We've pointed out to you that there is no requirement to have races at the racetrack, and that's an issue that needs to be taken up with the Fair Board. But there *is* a legal requirement for the property to remain a fairgrounds, and for the state fair to be held there.

As far as any materials that show the race track and historic photos of it-- the historic aspect of the racetrack cannot be denied-- if it was not for racing, there would be no fairgrounds-- in fact, for quite sometime, racing is what put nashville on the map-- so you can't forget about it when you discuss history... but as i said above, whether it continues or not does not depend on the existence of the fairgrounds-- racing is not a requirement.

we realize that you are part of a small group of local residents who purchased property there in the hopes of driving out the fairgrounds so that your property value would increase through re-development, thus providing you with a windfall at the expense of the neighborhood...

And certainly CM Moore can call meetings when she wants-- but it says a lot that she called one for the purpose of interfering with ours-- makes you wonder what she doesn't want us to tell everyone.... but that's ok... we'll have the larger turnout.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 12:25

FHPG - i beg to differ that redevelopment would wipe out the neighborhood. how so? also, the elderly who have owned their homes for many years would make a lot of money off their homes if they chose to sell. how could that be a bad thing?

By: FHPG on 1/20/10 at 12:43

Blanket -- the people in that neighborhood who are more interested in land speculation, such as 117_acres, would foster redevelopment of the entire neighborhood so that they could realize the windfall from selling their property, thus breaking up the neighborhood...

and the problem with the older and less affluent homeowners, is that even if they make a little extra from the sale of their property, it's not enough to go purchase a similar home in another neighborhood -- other, more upscale neighborhoods are much more expensive for similar housing... besides... why *should* the be forced out of their homes just for development, and so that speculators can make a profit.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 12:55

FHPG, redevelopment of the fairgrounds would not destroy the neighborhood. i just can't agree with that. as far as the homeowners, they probably bought their houses for somewhere around $10K, so they'd be making more than a little money and there are other neighborhoods where they could live if they so chose. that is no reason to not improve or develop a neighborhood. that's a weak argument. i suppose nothing should have ever been done to clean up east nashville or 12 south, huh?

By: FHPG on 1/20/10 at 1:12

Blanket -- it would turn the neighborhood into potential commercial property, since the redeveloped fairgrounds would now be commercial - thus opening the gate even more for speculators .... once the fairgrounds are commercial, the developers will not want to stop there...

as to what the people paid for their houses originally, that's of less consequence that what it would take to buy a comparable house in another neighborhood-- which is probably a lot more that what they would receive from the sale.... and there are very few middle class neighborhoods left in nashville-- look around... and what if it happens that they *like* living in that neighborhood??

as far as cleaning up the neighborhood, i think the fairgrounds itself should be updated and improved- it's been allowed to slide too long by lazy, corrupt fair boards... it needs a good bit of beautification to make it more neighbor-friendly... that's more desirable than commercializing that whole neighborhood under the guise of 'clean up'... that's more like 'clean out'...

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 1:21

what about 12 south and east nashville?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 1:23

FHPG, it wouldn't be a free for all for developers. they would have to get the blessing of Zoning and the city councilperson. it's not like the floodgates would open. also, we need to keep it a low income neighborhood even though downtown is sprawling south? times change. i doubt retired people realistically espected things to remain the same forever.

By: FHPG on 1/20/10 at 1:31

so basically you're saying just keep pushing the people of modest incomes out of the city until they're all gone??

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 1:33

no, i don't think that developing the fairgrounds turns this into an either/or situation. the area can be redeveloped at a moderate rate. i think you're a bit extreme in your analysis.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 1:45

every business that opens on that end of Nolensville Rd tends to be a used tire place or a used car place - both of which are often use to launder money for illegal activities. you'd rather have that than a developer? you think that scenario is better for the neighborhood? if a developer came in those shady businesses probably wouldn't last. then there would be room for small private businesses to move in and there would be the traffic to support them (cafes, boutiques, etc.).

By: FHPG on 1/20/10 at 1:54

Blanket -- you know as well as i do that development of this would not be 'moderate' ... 'moderate' may happen when you have small pockets of land become available, and they are turned to new uses... .with 117 acres of real estate, it won't be done in a 'moderate' manner-- you're talking condos, shopping centers, etc.... they will try to put in a single big development, which would trash that whole area...

you seem to know a lot about illegal activities on nolensville rd... perhaps you should share some of that knowledge with law enforcement so that they can do something about it...

and again, we're ignoring the fact that there is law saying it must remain the state fairgrounds-- that being the case, fix up the fairgrounds-- not only to improve the fair, but to improve the neighborhood as well, with no downside to the neighbors...

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 1:56

FHPG, i know about the illegal activities from attending neighborhood meetings where South Precinct discussed it. nice try at a smear, buddy.

FHPG, i still think you're overreacting. you are holding back the neighborhood.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 1:58

btw, i heard that it was already a "done deal" with HCA. oh no, there goes the neighborhood - lol!

By: TN4th on 1/20/10 at 2:16

Redevelopment would be a huge boon to a neighborhood that could really use it. It would provide tax revenues, jobs, and a boost to property values. I fail to see the source of the loyalty to an underutilized facility that does not provide jobs, revenues, or cachet. Let the state fair find some land that is more suited to a once-a-year celebration of tacky midways. Let the racetrack act like the private enterprise it is, and support its own facility.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/20/10 at 2:18

this discussion has shown that FHPG only cares about the racetrack. all of his other "reasons" are just a smokescreen. TN4th has hit the nail on the head. redevelopment would be a boon to a neighborhood that could really use it.

By: TN4th on 1/20/10 at 2:25

FHGP Said:...redevelopment would wipe out that neighborhood, pricing the real estate beyond what the current residents could afford to pay, many of whom are elderly and have owned their homes there for many years.

I say: If they own their homes, there would be no negative impact. The POSITIVE impact would be that their property values would be higher, so their net worth would rise. Also, the neighborhood would be safer, and there would be more conveniences and services in the neighborhood.

FHGP Said... the historic aspect of the racetrack cannot be denied... you can't forget about it when you discuss history

I say: Historically, it was a harness horse track! If you want to honor history, bring back the ponies.

By: racer84 on 1/20/10 at 4:27

TN4th Said: If they own their homes, there would be no negative impact. The POSITIVE impact would be that their property values would be higher, so their net worth would rise. Also, the neighborhood would be safer, and there would be more conveniences and services in the neighborhood.

I say : You're a clown, and not a very intelligent one at that.

The rise in property taxes for those on fixed incomes will drive them broke. I've never seen an elderly couple pay for groceries "based on net worth" . It generally takes liquid assets.....or to dumb down to you....cash money.

Add in the rise in every other metro rate for homeowners to pay for what the city can't afford and you're killing them and their families.

Duh

I won't even get into the negative effects of the next 3 years of construction, You know the couple hundred dump trucks hauling millions of tons of dirt and debris each and every morning and night, spreading who knows what kinds of chemicals and dirt that will shut down every ac unit in 5 miles radius plugged with dirt and debris.......Ask people who live close to construction what the negative effects are.
Now maginify that times 117 acres......

What's traffic going to be like with 5,000 to 15,000 HCA employees coming and going at all times of the day ?

They won't use back roads and side streets to avoid traffic will they ?

You won't be able to back out of your own driveway M-F mornings.

Bring in all that traffic, and rich traffic at that and the homeless and criminal element will move in even closer to take advantage of. Ask how many cars are broken into a day at its current location, How many assaults on employees in parking lots ?

Ya'll just aren't thinking past your own nose, You deserve whatever you get.

By: Shuzilla on 1/20/10 at 5:23

"every business that opens on that end of Nolensville Rd tends to be a used tire place or a used car place - both of which are often use to launder money for illegal activities. you'd rather have that than a developer?"

Why would you expect anything else to be built at the fairgrounds other than what you describe on Nolensville Rd? Developers develop property to maximum potential for maximum profit, which tends to be more of what the neighborhood is already about... UNLESS the developer gets taxpayer money in some fashion to offset real or potential losses from overdeveloping a piece of land to make politicians behind the redevelopment look good. TIF it and they will come.

Watch carefully... the taxpayer money and government incentives to help redevelop this site will add up to more than the cost to simply redevelop/revision the current site as a fairgrounds/exhibition area that would be civic, festive and practical; for instance, something reminescent of the exhibit halls at the Tennessee Centennial Exhibition, complete with lake and fountains, instead of metal sheds adrift on a sea of asphalt. The fairgrounds could be a landmark that doubles visitors to two million annually with the right image and leadership.

By: njmccune on 1/21/10 at 9:45

racer84 says:
"The rise in property taxes for those on fixed incomes will drive them broke. I've never seen an elderly couple pay for groceries "based on net worth" . It generally takes liquid assets.....or to dumb down to you....cash money."

There will be no rise in property taxes because Davidson County has a provision to freeze property taxes for the elderly. It is a simple proceedure involving only a signature.

racer84, are you the one at CM Moores meeting who thinks that the Lebanon Race Track will close in two years and the Nashville Track will get the races back that they lost a few years ago? Those races left for a reason... Think about it. You are blind to the eyesore that this property has become.