Fairgrounds racing compromise results in praise, criticism

Monday, April 4, 2011 at 1:38pm

An auto racing compromise put forth by neighbors of the Metro-owned fairgrounds is the subject of both praise and ridicule from council members, one day before the five-member Board of Fair Commissioners is set to vote whether to have racing this season.

The organization South Nashville Action People, which has taken exception with the noise generated by cars at the fairgrounds speedway, has offered a set of terms for racing for the next two seasons. The fair board is scheduled to consider two different proposals — one from promoter Tony Formosa, the other from former NASCAR drivers Chad Chaffin and Bobby Hamilton Jr. — at a Tuesday morning meeting.

Under SNAP’s proposal, racing would have to occur only on weekend dates when the fairgrounds’ flea market is open; events would conclude by 6:30 p.m.; mufflers would be mandatory; noise levels would be continuously monitored; and a special exemption would be required to hold events when nearby Fall-Hamilton Elementary School is in session. Besides one exception in October, creating noise in excess of 75 decibels would subject the lessee to a $2,500 fine. A second violation would be grounds to terminate the lease.

“If followed and enforced, we as members of SNAP and the surrounding neighborhoods believe this proposal is reasonable and is offered in the spirit of goodwill that Nashville embodies,” said Colby Sledge, who chairs SNAP.

The proposal also establishes a three-member neighborhood advisory committee — one member appointed by SNAP, another by the Tennessee State Fair Association and the other by Councilwoman Sandra Moore, who represents the area. At any point, the committee could recommend the termination of the lease to the fair board.

“I, of course, have no idea if the two entities who want a lease from the board will agree to these conditions or not,” fair board chair James Weaver said. “But for me at least, these conditions seen very, very reasonable.”

In a statement, Moore said she believes the board would reject both racing proposals if they were to lack buy-in and support from the neighbors.

“That my neighbors were willing to compromise for the good of everyone involved is heartwarming,” Moore said. “This proposal represents everything that I love about my neighborhood and my neighbors. They did not have to meet halfway on this issue but did.”

But other council members say the neighborhood group would enjoy too much authority with the proposal, highlighting the part of the compromise that gives the committee the ability to recommend the termination of the lease.

“This neighborhood group is being given not only apparently voting privileges, but sole veto power,” Councilman Duane Dominy said. “I find that to be a violation of the power granted to the fair board by the Metro Charter, and inappropriate.

“A bunch of it is foolish,” Dominy said of the proposal. “They want to have race days on flea market days. You can’t park for some of the flea market events now. Where are we going to put the additional people? It will do one of two things: It will destroy the flea market or it will destroy racing.”

21 Comments on this post:

By: nashtnman on 4/4/11 at 2:12

Oh shut up, you bought your crappy little house next to a race trac and ANY idiot knows race tracks make noise. You don't like it move. The track was there first. I am sick of bleeding heart "me only, me only" attitudes. This country is a Republic based on majority rule, don't like it move.

By: Shane Smiley on 4/4/11 at 3:32

While I am very pleased to see an attempt a reaching common ground, I disagree with Councilwoman Sandra Moore. This is not meeting half way.
A neighborhood group dictating days and hours of business operation is far from half way.

We are headed in the right direction. But, we have a ways to go.

I find it disturbing that Sandra Moore hasn't given any thanks to the race community for working hard to find a solution to the sound issue.

By: Shane Smiley on 4/4/11 at 5:02

Let me go a step further with my last comment.

The race community has NEVER had any more say on policy than the neighbors.
Policy was dictated by the promoter.

The race community has embraced the sound issue and is working to be good neighbors.

The proposal from SNAP is a step in the right direction but, they went too far with demands.
Their proposal ties the hands of the promoter and hobbles the track from any chance at success.

The mufflers are a big step. Run one race a month for the remainder of the year with a curfew of 11:00 PM
Outdoor music event, which carry a similar sustained db level, Have had a long time 11:00PM curfew.
Many tracks from around the country have an 11:00 pm curfew.

Dictating dates and times a business is allowed to operate is crossing the line.
We are looking for common ground. The current terms dictated by SNAP do not equate to equal ground.
We can do better.

By: MAmom on 4/4/11 at 6:15

I'm sure Karl Dean, James Weaver, Colby Sledge, etal had fun thinking up this proposal.

The most RIDICULOUS part of the proposal is having races on Flea Market weekend:
1. Bad for Flea Market people.
2. Bad for racing people.
3. Bad for the neighborhood (think of the traffic jams and parking mess there will be if both of these events are scheduled at the same time).
4. Bad for everyone except Fairground haters (i.e.: Mayor Karl Dean, Councilwoman Sandra Moore, and political operatives Colby Sledge, Fred Agee).

This proposal gives people who hate racing veto power over the racing lease and (effectively) the Fairgrounds: "The proposal also establishes a three-member neighborhood advisory committee — one member appointed by SNAP, another by the Tennessee State Fair Association and the other by Councilwoman Sandra Moore, who represents the area. At any point, the committee could recommend the termination of the lease to the fair board."

This proposal is yet another example of how Karl Dean plays dirty, cheats and manipulates things until he gets his way - regardless of how many Nashvillians he hurts.

It will be interesting to see what the Fair Board does regarding this proposal.


Karl Dean doesn't deserve to be the mayor of a fine city like Nashville because of his LACK OF CHARACTER! Instead of representing the people of Nashville, Karl Dean obviously wants to exploit Nashville.

Make Dean a one-term mayor!

By: tenn.Big Dog on 4/5/11 at 6:12

It would appear that if you move close to a Garbage Dump, you would expect to smell an occasional Stinch.. If you move close to the Air Port, you are going to hear Air Planes. Soooo Why would these silly people whom moved to the neighborhood near the Fairgrounds Speedway, and Flea Market not expect to hear race cars? Guess what folks, during the State Fair, you might Get an odor from the Stock Barns..If you move to the Lake, though you might not like it, you must put up with the threat of High Water.. WHERE DO THESE PROBABLY 100 OR LESS PEOPLE GET OFF DICTATING TO THOUSANDS OF THE REST OF US??


By: treehugger7 on 4/5/11 at 6:36

Keep the fairgrounds and ditch the old fashioned, barbaric, and environmentally unsound racing. Having racing on flea market weekend is the stupidest thing I have ever heard!
I personally think driving around in circles for hours is mornoic. Perhaps that's why it has so many fans here in the south....
What we need is a Nashville monte carlo type race, or a road race. That would be entertaining.
The more the neighbors carry on about noise, the less sympathy I have for them. What did they think they were getting when they bought their houses, anyway?
Here's another plan: raze the neighborhood and turn it into the corporate campus Dean is so hot for. Problem solved!

By: BigPapa on 4/5/11 at 6:59

Honestly, I dont blame the neighbors one bit. I cant believe people are critizing people for trying to improve the neighborhood! That's insane! Just because something is terrible doesnt mean it has to stay that way.. good grief.
There are very very very few people that care about that race track. It's best days are long behind it. It's a dump, time to tear it down and develop it into something productive.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 4/5/11 at 7:31

I don't know BigPapa, seems like a whole lot of people care about that dump. But, let's spice this discussion up, are the neighborhood protesters akin to the Obama democrats, trying to grab to much power while the grabbing's good. Demand more than you know you can get before the other side can react? Then say you will compromise and accept what you would have expected in the first place. Is the councilwoman in cahoots with the Mayor, does the finance man already have a buddy ready to develop the property? Will the whole development be moved to Jackson Hole? Inquiring minds want to know.

By: Community-carl-... on 4/5/11 at 7:38

I am sick and tired of a small group of vocal liberals trying to dictate to the vast majority of us who want the Fairgrounds and Racetrack to remain, be maintained, and improved. The Racetrack was there for decades before they moved there.
Using their line of reasoning, some people would expect the Nashville Airport to be closed because of the noise........Hey, if you buy a house in Donelson, you either know, or should know what you are getting. The same goes for people buying houses in the area around the Fairgrounds. And the suggestion to schedule the races on flea market weekends is just plain stupid.....Anybody with even a smidgen of common sense would see the multitude of conflicts that would cause....no doubt this is another attempt being egged on by Dean's continuing attempts to set the Fairgrounds up for failure.

The Nashville citizens have made it clear that the vast majority of them want the Fairgrounds and Racetrack to continue being used for their intended purposes.
But Karl Dean and his cronies just continue chiseling away at this issue.
Dean is just trying to set things up to benefit his rich friends who stand to benefit immensely from real estate windfalls and business deals if he has his way and steals the Fairgrounds from us, the people.

If Dean were really interested in creating/restoring jobs and tax revenues for Nashville citizens, he would be putting efforts into doing whatever was necessary to reopen the Opry Mills Mall. The whole Opry Mills situation smacks of corruption and under-the-table politics. Nashville citizens are major stakeholders regarding the viability of Opry Mills. I think Dean is conspicuous by his absence in discussions about the future of Opry Mills. Just think of the jobs lost and the tax revenues that have in many cases migrated to surrounding counties. Why is Dean wasting his time with the Fairgrounds issue when the BIG Opry Mills issue is of more importance to the future of Nashville/Davidson County?

I am convinced that Dean's highest priority is watching out for his rich friends and cronies instead of the best interests of Nashville citizens.

Make Dean a one-term mayor.

By: BigPapa on 4/5/11 at 7:47

I assume they do have some folks on the line to develop the property. That would only make sense. Dean is a lawyer, remember the idea that you dont ask a question you dont already know the answer? So yeah, they got someone in mind.
I've seen east nashville develop and it takes people looking forward, not back. That means getting rid of something that as long as it exists will help ad to (or continue) blight, not spur development.
If racing is as popular as you say then there should be people standing in line waiting to open another small track.

By: GoodGrief on 4/5/11 at 8:05

Hey BigPaPa,
Is there any property around your house big enough for a litlle race track? We've already got one...

By: BigPapa on 4/5/11 at 8:09

I dont understand you attempt at taunting me? I dont want a track around my house or anyone house. I think they should close the place down, and those that think racing is a viable business should purchase property in Nashville (or surrounding area) and build and operate a track. The current track is a blight on this area of Nashville and is well past it's due date.

By: gdiafante on 4/5/11 at 8:20

"are the neighborhood protesters akin to the Obama democrats, trying to grab to much power while the grabbing's good."

Thanks Judy...you just won me $5.

By: Floyd2 on 4/5/11 at 8:25

I agree that we need majority rule on this issue -- end the racing and close down the flea market like the majority of Nashvillians want. Why haven't the racetrack supporters done a poll? Because they know that I'm right. Most Nashvillians don't support that noisy racetrack or the nasty flea market.

The supporters are being ginned up by a dishonest paid political hack - who spends the rest of his time foisting landfills on unsuspecting neighborhoods -- are are funded by people that don't even live in Davidson County.

End the racing and the flea market. The sooner the better.

By: Community-carl-... on 4/5/11 at 9:17

Floyd3: You are either grossly out of touch with reality, or else exhibiting a severe case of denial. I know a lot of people from many backgrounds, and at least 95% of them want the Fairgrounds and Racetrack venues to continue being used for their original purposes.

Big Papa: Your suggestions for Racetrack and Fairground advocates to buy land and develop new venues elsewhere is unfair and stupid. I think you must be a big bully. Why should something that is loved , isn't broken, and is wanted by the majority of citizens be discarded and then relocated just because a few self-serving bullies want to spoil the game and have things their way? .....You BIG BULLY !
Go away! Let democracy rule.

By: gdiafante on 4/5/11 at 10:57

Carl, maybe you should start hanging around with more people. Most of the people I know could care less either way.

There are literally hundreds of other options in the area than watching Bubba drive around in a circle for an hour and buying junk items that I wouldn't pay for with Monopoly money.

By: BigPapa on 4/5/11 at 11:32

Carl I think you're out of touch.. on more than one thing.
1. Opry mills is owned by Gaylord. the fact that hasnt reopened is up to them, their insurance company and the company that operates the mall. Metro doesnt get a say in what they do as opposed too...
2. The Fairgrounds and track are owned and operated by Metro government. The Mayor and metro government have a direct say in it's operation.
3. The attendence firgures for the race track indicate that virtually no one cares about that track.
4. I fail to see what is unfair about asking race fans to pay their own way by buying and operating their own track. Afterall, thousands of people want to go right? Must be a sure fire money maker.

By: TITAN1 on 4/5/11 at 12:16

The track and flea market are not hurting anyone. Many people enjoy it. If you don't like it, stay away.

By: Community-carl-... on 4/5/11 at 3:37

Big Papa,

1. Of course the Fairgrounds is owned by Metro Government. But governmental entities are supposed to represent and advocate for the desire of the citizens represented, not for the self-serving desires of corrupted politicians.

2. Regarding Opry Mills, the various administrations of Nashville have bent over backwards to accomodate the needs of Gaylord.....witness the widened and improved Briley Parkway for prospective customers first to access Opryland, and then after that little slight-of-hand when we found out that Opryland was being razed so that the Mall could be built. As I recall, there were several different incentives provided to Gatlord along the way. Certainly, while the maayor of Nashville can't force Gaylord to do anything, he should certainly be able to advocate on behalf of the city and its citizens. Dean has been conspicuously absent here.

3. Of course attendence figure have declined somewhat for the racetrack....the fairboard has in recent years neglected the upkeep of the property, and the Dean administration has caused so much uncertainty in regards to its futuure that private parties are reluctant to invest in improvements.

4. Of course it is unfair to take away a public property that has served its use admireably over the decades, and would continue to do so if it wasn't being sabatoged every inch of the way by the Dean administration. Why should citizens have to pay to replace something that is already paid for and serving its intended purpose? It would be very poor stewardship of public funds to relocate and rebuild comparable facilities elsewhere when the existing facilities could be adequately spiffed up at a fraction of the cost. Then, promoted properly, the Fairgrounds and the Racetrack would generate larger attendance figures leading to increased tourist revenue dollars for the city.

5. If you think all sports and entertainment venues in this city should pay their own way, then maybe Nashville should close the Municipal Auditorium that regularly has to have its operating costs subsidized by Metro. Maybe the portion of the citizen's Metro Water bills that is indirectly used to subsidize the football stadium should no longer used for this purpose. Not everybody who enjoys the Fairgrounds and Racetrack is a redneck, but even if they were, they deserve something for their tax dollars too. I suspect you are snob as well as a bully. I am tired of the rich and well connected people running all over the poor people. People like you and Karl Dean need to go away and leave the rest of us alone. Shoooo!

By: Community-carl-... on 4/5/11 at 3:54


Thank you very much, but I suspect the people I hang out with are more representative of the majority of the citizenry of Nashville than the high brow set you apparently smooze with. You should be ashamed of your comment regarding "Bubba." It just so happens that some a lot of folks in this city enjoy car racing as much as others enjoy football, baseball, hockey, or art exhibits.
And your comment regarding flea market merchadise as "junk" smacks of haughtiness, elitism, and snobbery. I kind of feel sorry for you, but I'm sure you will fire back with some other hateful remark, thus renewing my anger at your snobbish, high-handed ways. When I was a child, my Momma told me .some people enjoy looking down on others, disrespecting them, and bullying them. Are you really one of these types? It sure seems like it............

By: GUARDIAN on 4/5/11 at 8:39

GUARDIAN-All you s`n`a`p cockroaches should take carl dean and stuff yourselves into where the sun never shines.