Fairgrounds budget talks delayed as revenue, funding questions linger

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 12:44am

With a number of lingering questions on revenue and funding levels at the Metro-owned fairgrounds, Mayor Karl Dean agreed to effectively delay budget conversations with fairgrounds officials until operations are clearer.

Tennessee State Fair Executive Director Buck Dozier and fair board chair James Weaver sat across from Dean and members of his administration Monday to hold what was supposed to be a hearing to discuss budget requirements for the fairgrounds. Dean is meeting with department heads all week in preparation for the spring unveiling of a proposed budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

But both parties quickly agreed numbers are still too vague to begin substantive conversations. Namely, the fair board next week is set to consider two proposals to hold racing events at the fairgrounds speedway, and vote on three proposals from groups vying to hold the annual state fair. The fair board meeting is Tuesday, April 5.

“There are some unanswered questions that would affect our budget,” said Dozier, who made the initial request to postpone budget conversations. “The answers to these questions won’t come until our next board meeting.”

Dean, whose attempt to pursue redevelopment opportunities at the 117-acre fairgrounds stalled earlier this year, called Dozier’s request for a delay “fair enough.”

“I think we just wait to get these numbers,” Dean said.

Funding uncertainties also stem from the fair board’s recent decision to hire an outside consultant to study the possibility of raising rates charged to vendors to use the fairgrounds’ expo center.

Dozier, who said current rates aren’t covering costs in the corporate sales area, believes the study should conclude within eight to 12 weeks.     

14 Comments on this post:

By: Community-carl-... on 3/29/11 at 5:56

Give me a break!

So now Dean's puppets have hired another consultant at some ridiculous cost to make another recommendation to the fairboard......Geez I guess the idiots on the fairboard can't think for themselves. Plus, they can charge the cost to the Fairgrounds' operating expenses and then give credence to Dean's assertions that the Fairgrounds are too costly to keep and must be redeveloped as per Dean and his cronies.

It's all just more stalling tactics meant to sabatoge the viability of the Fairgrounds so Dean can have his way. Gag........it makes me sick. Doesn't anybody else see that Dean and his cronies are just attempting to wear down the supporters of the Fairgounds? Dean needs to go.

By: BigPapa on 3/29/11 at 6:36

Well for one, there really isnt much support for the track or fairgrounds, two you are correct in that Dean can just wait this thing out, three the various purposals have been a lot of talk from a few people,but very little follow through.
Eventually the track and faigrounds will be closed and developed.

By: racer84 on 3/29/11 at 8:20

BigPapa - What rock have you been under ?

Really isn't much support ?
Largest crowd in history to show up at a metro council meeting
More signatures 60,000+ on petitions (continues today) in favor of saving the Fairgrounds and Racetrack than in the history of Nashville for any petition.

Very little follow through on various proposals ?
What can you do once proposal has been submitted to Fair Board that would be considered Follow Through ?

Great post if being the opposite of correct was the goal you nailed it big buddy.

By: pswindle on 3/29/11 at 8:28

It looks like the pressure will have to be put on Dean again. He wants the fairgrounds, and he must be stopped. Buck is not helping, I wonder what job he has been promised.

By: BigPapa on 3/29/11 at 10:15

60000 people signing something, but having 60 show up to races doesnt help your cause.. the place is a dump and needs to go. Dean will win on this one. Mark my words.

By: racer84 on 3/29/11 at 11:32


I'm marking your words and booking that statement.

If you're so confident in your statement then you shouldn't be afraid to attach your real name and how the Fairgrounds personally affects you. Please do so.

My name is Ronnie Campbell. I race and I'm working to become a flea mkt vendor with a product I've designed and hope to support my family with.

Btw, you posted another lie in your last post. Kinda hard to build credibility like that, but u like everyone else fighting to demolish the track have proven credibility means zero in your efforts.

Average attendance thanks to the efforts of Tony Formosa last season was 6,000 per race for the first 4, and the final event had over 12,500.

You were only off by about 30,000 people.

Not very good base to support your argument.

If you really believe what u say Man up and take ownership of your statements.

By: BigPapa on 3/29/11 at 12:42

Thats really terrible attendence, cant say I'd post those numbers if I were you. Dean will win re-election, and eventually win on this subject.

By: wwrcd on 3/29/11 at 1:24

If you want the fairgrounds developed vote for Dean and if you want to keep the status quo at the fairgrounds vote for Jabba the Craddockhut. We will see where the red army is in August! Most of the red army folks don't live in Davidson County thus they want be able to vote in August.

By: gdiafante on 3/29/11 at 2:04

Personally, I wouldn't bring my family within a 100 feet of that dump.

Bigpapa's right...Dean will win and in a few years we'll wonder what the fuss was all about.

By: Shane Smiley on 3/29/11 at 2:16

You are missing the point. The Fairgrounds preservationists do not want to see the status quo concerning the Fairgrounds.
Quite the opposite.
The Fairgrounds preservationists want to see the property managed properly and fairly.
We want to see improvements made to the property. The property has huge potential to bring more economic impact to our city and remain a meeting place for citizens, as it was originally meant to be.
We want to help keep a part of Nashville history intact and move the property forward for generations to come.

The Fairgrounds is paid for.
The Fairgrounds , unlike ANY other Metro property , is not a burden on the tax payers of Davidson County. Costing the tax payer nothing, zero, nada. Never has.
The Fairgrounds generates $50-$60 Million dollars in economic impact annually. These numbers would grow dramatically if the property were managed properly (Markin Report)
The new MCC is going to cost a Billion dollars and is estimated to only contribute $100-$120 Million in economic impact.
You do the math.

Portions of the Red Army live outside of Davidson County. That is a fact. Most live here in Nashville. That is a fact.

wwrcd, your name calling or whatever your silly mind came up with concerning Michael Craddock is childish. Your message
didn't require a slander on someone else. Facts are all you needed. Name calling and slurs are a sign of fear and weakness.

By: Shane Smiley on 3/29/11 at 2:38

gdiafante. As a tax payer, you should be pissed! Pissed that your local government has allowed a property that generates a substantial amount of economic impact and hosts an average of 1.2 Million guests a year, to get run down.
You call it a dump. You should be up in arms with any administration that has allowed this to happen and has taken no action to remedy the situation.
What if the next property to be intentionally run down for hopes of redevelopment is in your neighborhood?

When the thought of moving the Expo events to Hickory Hollow came up, Buck Dozier showed the City Council this nicely painted building and commented on the flags, banners, and park benches. Exclaiming that the new festive atmosphere would be great for sales.
When approached and asked if these NEW items were in the budget, Mr. Dozier exclaimed "YES, It will be beautiful"
If it is such a key to the success of the Expo events, and is in the budget, why on earth haven't these Beautifications been made at the current property?

Wake up Nashville!!!

By: Doveplayer on 3/29/11 at 3:05

gdiafante . You should bring your family to the Fairgrounds. You wil lbe pleased to see it is NOT a dump, it is very safe and is great for families. I myself have been going there over 45 years and have taken my family as well. I attended all the races last year and have been to three recent expo center events there as well. They were well attended and clean and nice. Lots of families and kids enjoying themselves there. It needs to be managed better. That being the Fairgrounds property as a whole, not the track or the flea market or state fair. the Fair Board has a job which includes make money from the activities there, maintenance and upkeep of the grounds and buildings. Making mondy is not a problem. It makes a ton of money. So, where IS the money, the millions of dollars generated per year from the Fairgrounds? Why is it NOT being used for upkeep and beautification? If the property looks like a dump, whose fault is that? Is it Tony Formosa Jr.'s? Is the the Flea Market or Expo Center's fault? No, that falls in the lap of the Fair Board. They are NOT doing their jobs. The group trying to save and improve the Fairgrounds has a plan presented that will make the Fairgrounds nicer than any in the nation, Nicer, safer, quieter, greener (in more ways than one). We are stronger than Dean and the Fair Board and anyone else that wants to challenge us. I have personally walked the streets getting petitions signed and by a very, very large majority, the local residents are in favor of keeping the Fairgrounds. You and BigPapa should really get your facts straight before you post. Shane is right on the numbers. Dean is a joke and Buck Dozier needs to retire from a comfy Metro job a second time. Give 'em hell, Shane and Ronnie! See you soon!

By: Community-carl-... on 3/29/11 at 5:41

I like the way Shane Smiley rites and expresses himself. We share the same opinions.

Doveplayer's comments and opinions also reflective of my own and all my friends. I think Karl Dean is going to be surprised at the next election.

By: racer84 on 3/29/11 at 6:52

Want to know what RC would do...

Maybe someone will answer that in the news tomorrow ;-)