Meetings reveal lack of consensus on future of fairgrounds

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 9:20pm

The takeaway from Wednesday’s pair of fairgrounds meetings: Public opinion is all over the board.

At various times during Councilwoman Sandra Moore’s meeting, the fairgrounds was described as everything from “an eyesore” to “the people’s convention center.” Auto racing, long a staple at the 113-acre facility in south Nashville, is either a tradition or a noise-polluting anachronism, depending on whom you ask.

Down the hill, at a meeting of the Fairgrounds Heritage Preservation Group, opinion was far more consistent — not only should the fairgrounds be preserved as a state fairgrounds, Metro has no other choice, because a century-old law and the Metro Charter bind the fair board to host a fair and bind the fair to that specific tract.

“What it doesn’t do is give them the authority to stop the fair. … They have a legal requirement to have a state fair and have it here,” the group’s Thomas Watson said.

But, it seems, the fairgrounds will shut down at the end of 2010 — the Board of Fair Commissioners, following Mayor Karl Dean’s recommendation, made that decision last fall.

The plan is to redevelop the space, but Moore, whose District 17 includes the fairgrounds, said nothing is final.

“It’s not a done deal,” she said. “In the next couple of weeks, the mayor will put together a task force.”

Moore will chair that group, which she said will have at least four meetings before May. “I’m interested in making it the best it can be,” she said.

Nancy McCune moved to Nashville two years ago. She said something has to change at the fairgrounds.

“When I first drove by this, I thought it was a shuttered industrial complex about to shut down,” she said. “This property is an eyesore and you’ve grown accustomed to an eyesore.”

Councilman Eric Crafton — who attended Moore’s meeting and the preservationist meeting — said he did not see the logic in closing the property.

“It’s not costing the taxpayer any money. … I don’t want this to be turned over to the government so it can be sold,” he said.

Down the hill, at the Knowles Senior Center, Chad Chaffin — a member of the Fairgrounds Speedway Hall of Fame — said despite Moore’s assertion the redevelopment was not a done deal, and despite Crafton’s objections, he knows the council will go along with whatever Dean suggests.

“Of course they won’t [overrule the mayor]. Most of the council members are on board for more and more money for spending however the mayor wants,” he said. “All of our mayors come in from wherever they come from and spend our money on their monuments, but this place is for the people.”

With the funding for the $585 million Music City Center approved, the redevelopment of the fairgrounds is gearing up to be Dean’s next project and one the council is preparing for. Councilman Rip Ryman, chair of the committee that oversees the fairgrounds, has called a special meeting of the committee for 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8, in the council chambers with fairgrounds director Buck Dozier and fair board chairman James Weaver. There will be a public comment period.

80 Comments on this post:

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/10 at 4:39

By: 117_acres on 1/21/10 at 4:33 sez....
Let's call this group the Racetrack Heritage Preservation Group because that is what they really are. They don't care about the fairgrounds they only care about the racetrack. If the city would go ahead and tear down the racetrack we would never hear from these simple minded people again.

true that.

I drove by the Racetrack Preservation Groups meeting last night and boy did they pack in the people. "LOL" There might have been twenty (20) people who attended this meeting

that's good to hear.

Lastly, for those of us who live in the neighborhood remember you can't rationalize or reason with rednecks!

indeed. take "racer" as a fine example of that. name calling is the best he can come up with.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/10 at 4:42

it's not like you can put a beautiful park in the middle of the neighborhood the way it stands now. it needs private money to come in and revitalize and help clean it up so that a future park would be safe. right now it would just be run ragged with crackheads and thieves.

By: 117_acres on 1/21/10 at 4:42

If the fairgrounds operations substantially contributed to the economic impact of the city of Nashville every business that is impacted would have spoken up by now! No hotels or restaurants are jumping up and down screaming save the fairgrounds! The different Chamber of Commerce and tourist Organizations have not shown any public support for saving the fairgrounds. The only businesses that have come forward are those that are owned by race car drivers and racing fans which none of these entities have explained how their business will be affected. So, basically Some1esle your economic impact argument does not hold water!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/21/10 at 4:43

good point, 117.

By: some1else on 1/21/10 at 5:04

117 -- since you're resorting to lies and innuendo, i must be making the right points. most, i won't even argue with you because of your absurdity...

"Let's call this group the Racetrack Heritage Preservation Group because that is what they really are. They don't care about the fairgrounds they only care about the racetrack."

A flat-out lie and you know it-- you're just trying to use the racetrack to divert attention.. talk to someone who was at the meeting last night, or even watch the TV coverage -- the racetrack was barely mentioned, and never was a topic of discussion.

"I drove by the Racetrack Preservation Groups meeting last night and boy did they pack in the people. "LOL" There might have been twenty (20) people who attended this meeting which was actually not a Racetrack Preservation Group meeting but instead a Ronnie Greer for council campaign rally."

You weren't there. I was, i know you, and you were not there. I counted about 70 people after a few had left. Again, check the press coverage-- it was *your* meeting that had less than 20 ppl.

And while Ronnie probably *should* run (Dist 17 deserves someone who will be responsive and work for the people) it was not in any way a Ronnie Greer rally anymore than the other meeting was a Mary Pruitt re-election rally.

"The City loses money every year by not doing something else with this dilapidated property. The racetrack takes up 14 acres of land and usually runs from March to December. $50,000 is not anywhere close to what the fair market of 14 acres is considering this property is less than two (2) miles from downtown Nashville."

The city loses nothing at the fairgrounds, because it pays nothing.

Don't know what kind of thinking you call this about "fair market" value-- but i can also rent space at the civic center for a lot less than the fair market value of the place-- same with the sommet, the civic arena-- gosh, just about any place in the world!

it may surprise you to know, but i can also rent a house for less than your paid to buy yours!

"... remember you can't rationalize or reason with rednecks!"

That's probably true 117 - so why don't you go back to that little redneck town you came from??

You're just using these specious arguments so that you can attempt to profit from your investment. What happened? found out you paid too much for that house? the real estate agent lied to you?

BTW - last night at the Mary Pruitt rally, you got up and said you'd be in favor of saving the fairgrounds if the racetrack was closed... what happened to that stance??

By: some1else on 1/21/10 at 5:26

117 said - "If the fairgrounds operations substantially contributed to the economic impact of the city of Nashville every business that is impacted would have spoken up by now!"

and had you been at our meeting instead of the Mary Pruitt rally, you would have seen that the first person to speak up from the audience-- and give a very good talk -- was the owner of one of the oldest and largest businesses on Broadway...

By: 117_acres on 1/21/10 at 7:09

Some1else you said you were expecting 400 people to show up for your Racetrack Heritage Preservation Group meeting. I was at your meeting and you must have been counting by 3's if you counted 70. I hope the city tears the racetrack down before this issue is completed because I believe you and the rest of the Racetrack Heritage Preservation Group will fold up like a cheap suit. If the Racetrack is not the sole issue for your group then you all would agree that in order to save the fairgrounds the racetrack needs to go because the residents who live nearby are tired of the noise and the track does not financially impact are city to an extent that it is worth saving. If you can't agree to tearing the racetrack down and putting up some monument to remember it was on this property then all you care about is the racetrack. The racetrack has to go and because of people like you that support keeping it the rest of the events that go on at the property will probably be leaving as well. Comprise is sometimes a good thing. I will agree to try to save some exhibit space on the property if you will agree to ask the City to tear the racetrack down.

By: 117_acres on 1/21/10 at 7:23

Compromise is sometimes a good thing....

By: racer84 on 1/21/10 at 7:31

Ok, The complaint is that Race Cars MADE noise......We can run mufflers, Problem solved. Race Track stays.

Lot more arguments for keeping than for doing away with.

By: some1else on 1/21/10 at 7:47

117 - again you mistake your own fiction for fact...

we never said we were expecting 400 ... what we said in that newsgroup post that you read was (and this is cut from the actual posting) "The meeting room seats 400 and we'd like to pack it full!!" never said we expected we would.

but at least we did better than CM Moore's re-election meeting with you guys rattling around like BB's in a bucket... you had what? 12 people (after not counting Ms. Moore and the 3 reps of Metro who were there). And half of those were from our group seeing what was going on-- our attorney was there, l.l. was there, the guy who taped the meeting for us was there, t.b. was there, a rep from the flea market was there (until she left for our meeting). And of course the two council members left Ms. Moore's meeting to come down to ours... the last half hour of the Moore Re-Election Committee must have been pretty quiet.

And again, you obsess with the racetrack-- that is not the issue... the fairgrounds are the issue.... the only event mandated by law to take place there is the State Fair... the other events lease space from the Fair Board.... it's up to the Fair Board whether there is racing there or not-- they control the leases.

So the time to argue about the racetrack has not yet come--- once the fairgrounds are secure, then is the time to argue for or against racing.

and as i've told you many times, i'm not a race fan, and it matters not to me whether they have it or not-- that's for you and the race fans to fight over.

And then is also when you can explain why you moved next to the race track and then complain about it......

But it *does* matter to me whether the Metro government will follow the law or not.

By: 117_acres on 1/21/10 at 8:15

Racer 84 you all have tried mufflers but that did not work. You wanted to have some races where you didn't have to use mufflers. You can also still clearly hear the noise with the mufflers. Also, there is no way to enforce the use of mufflers on the race cars. If the racing continues there is going to be a lawsuit filed under the Federal Supremacy Clause in the Federal District Court to enforce EPA and OSHA standards regarding noise pollution. I don't believe any lessee is going to want to have to deal with the EPA and OSHA. You all can continue to try to save it but at some point if the noise continues it is going to end up in a court of law.

Some1eslse in case you haven't heard there is not going to be a fair this year unless a private entity comes in and puts it on. I can't imagine that happening because the insurance that they would have to carry in order to put this event on would be out the roof regarding the price to be insured. If one shooting happened or a person got hurt on the property during the fair it will be the private entity that gets sued and not the City. I hope that you all go ahead and file your lawsuit. You keep talking about the fact that you all have an attorney but I haven't heard anything out of him since your press release. I'm not aware of you having a law degree although you continue to give your legal opinions in the media. I guess if you don't have a law license you can still represent yourself pro se. Oh and BTW since the Racetrack Heritage Preservation Group is soliciting donations to pay legal fees, I hope you are registered in Tennessee with Charitable, Gaming, and Solicitation.

By: racer84 on 1/21/10 at 8:30

117 acres - Do a search for man named Mike CURB, throw in Scott Borchetta for good measure.

Those are two of the men working to purchase the Fairgrounds. Think either could afford a good attorney ?

Keep in mind the Curb Event Center was just a donation.....a $50 million DONATION......Now what was the price range of the Fairgrounds again ?

Most of the people on our side do not have time to read these messages, much less post to them. Unlike you or I, They are really smart, they have real jobs, and real lives.

You have no idea who you are working against.

I like our chances much better than yours.

By: 117_acres on 1/21/10 at 9:04

Racer84
I'm very aware of who Mike Curb and Scott Borchetta are. They have both done well in not only Country Music but also auto racing. I'm sure if these two (2) buy the fairgrounds they will most certainly make improvements to the property. I can't imagine them wanting to buy the property just to continue to have a weekly racing series for a couple of hundred racing fans, so what will happen to the local drivers. If they did buy the property they would probably want to get a NASCAR event on the property which means they would have to build a racing complex that would be attractive and a good investment for NASCAR. So, these gentlemen would probably have to pay the City of Nashville at or around $100,000,00 if not more for the fairgrounds property and then spend another $100,000,000 or more to develop the property so that they could attempt to attract NASCAR to Nashville, mean while Bristol Speedway, Talladega Speedway, Nashville Super Speedway, and Atlanta Speedway as well as others in this market will all be lobbing NASCAR against this idea because it will saturate the professional racing market which is already experiencing financial difficulties. Also, again if racing continues the noise will have to be within EPA and OSHA standards. I know that if they do buy the property at least it will be improved and not such an eyesore.

By: some1else on 1/21/10 at 9:09

117 -- even though the race track is not an issue with me, i hate to see stupidity, mis-information and lies used to attempt to win arguments...

117 said - "If the racing continues there is going to be a lawsuit filed under the Federal Supremacy Clause in the Federal District Court to enforce EPA and OSHA standards regarding noise pollution. I don't believe any lessee is going to want to have to deal with the EPA and OSHA. You all can continue to try to save it but at some point if the noise continues it is going to end up in a court of law."

1 - there is no such thing as bringing suit under the supremacy clause. the supremacy clause merely gives federal law precedence over *conflicting* state law. read the constitution.

2 - OSHA stands for the "Occupational Safety and Health Act"... it has to do with regulations and safety standards for employers. To bring suit under OSHA, one must be an employee of the company being sued.

3 - the EPA has no regulatory authority in local neighborhoods. check it out.

and just *who* do you think you're going to sue??

and while you're talking to your attorney, have him explain the theory of 'vested interest' to you as it relates to real estate and zoning.

and 117, reading legislation to others is not considered practicing law, nor is expressing you opinion about it to someone else. although unlike you, i *have* discussed the applicable legislation with not one, but several attorneys and have a pretty good grasp of it.

and if you're worried about our attorneys (yes, plural), keep your eyes open.... one of our attorney's was at your Moore Re-Election Rally last night.. just keeping an eye on things.. :)

and don't bet the farm on there not being a State Fair here this year.

By: 117_acres on 1/22/10 at 1:39

Some1else for someone who continues to say that the racetrack is not the main issue of your group you sure do spend a lot of time and energy defending it. I don't have to continue to defend myself to you regarding filing any type of lawsuit to prevent the noise pollution from the racetrack that continues to disturb are quality of life. I know what we can do and what we can't do. FYI there are several attorneys that live in our neighborhood as well as the 12th south district. You use the federal supremacy clause as way for the US Federal District Court to have jurisdiction to hear a case regarding a particular issue. For example if the City of Nashville, the fair board, or racetrack lessee continues to not enforce EPA standards regarding noise pollution/levels then you go to the US Federal District Court and you ask them to make the City of Nashville, fair board, and racetrack lessee adhere to those regulations. You would file a claim based on public nuisance and then you inform the court on what the EPA and OSHA standards are regarding noise levels and pollution. This was taken from a TN Court of Appeals case. I can only imagine how a Federal Judge would rule in this type of situation.

"The standard that is established by this trial judge in this situation is that the
racetrack must contain its noise level so that there is no substantial interference with the conversations of the Plaintiffs in or outside their homes during the six hour
periods during, just before, and just after races, and no substantial interference with
the ability of the neighbors to sleep in their homes or conduct other “normal”
activities inside or outside their homes during the same periods. The evidence in the case establishes that a decibel level in excess of 55 would impede normal
conversation, so the Defendant cannot exceed that decibel level during operations,
measured on the property of the Plaintiffs.
As a practical matter Defendants cannot meet the decibel level standards imposed by the trial judge...."

By: some1else on 1/22/10 at 2:58

Like i said 117, i just don't like to see lies and misinformation used to attempt to sway public opinion...

Noise complaints. EPA no longer regulates most types of noise pollution. You should consult with your local governmental (e.g., city and county) authorities to see if there are local or state laws that might apply to your situation. -- http://publicaccess.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/publicaccess.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1741&p_created=1101144599&p_sid=g_x1fHFi&p_accessibility=0&p_redirect=&p_lva=&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPSZwX3NvcnRfYnk9JnBfZ3JpZHNvcnQ9JnBfcm93X2NudD0xOTQmcF9wcm9kcz0mcF9jYXRzPSZwX3B2PSZwX2N2PSZwX3NlYXJjaF90eXBlPWFuc3dlcnMuc2VhcmNoX25sJnBfcGFnZT0y&p_li=&p_topview=1

Community noise

EPA does not have any regulatory authority governing noise in local communities. You should consult with your local governmental (e.g., city and county) authorities to see if there are local or state laws that might apply to your situation.

http://publicaccess.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/publicaccess.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1765

In the past, EPA coordinated all federal noise control activities through its Office of Noise Abatement and Control. In 1981, the Administration at that time concluded that noise issues were best handled at the state or local government level. As a result, the EPA phased out the office's funding in 1982 as part of a shift in federal noise control policy to transfer the primary responsibility of regulating noise to state and local governments.

and once again it makes a difference legally that the race track was there first...

stick to the truth, and i won't have to argue a secondary issue with you....

tell me that *you* don't like the noise and i can accept that... then i'd only question why in the world you bought a house next to an established racetrack...

but help us save the fair and the fairgrounds, and i won't enter into the argument between you and the Fair Board over the race track (as long as you keep it honest!)

oh.. and check your source on that case you mentioned-- i believe it was overturned on appeal... and besides, it's not on point because it concerns a race track being built in an existing neighborhood, not a neighborhood that moved next to a race track.

By: 117_acres on 1/22/10 at 4:06

A public nuisance is a public nuisance and it does not matter who or what was there first. My home was built before the current racetrack facility was modified in 1952. Homes in this area were built before horse racing began. Horse racing began before auto racing so lets bring back the horses. Also, the lessees of the racetrack have changed several times over the last twenty years. So, lets match lessee to home owner. I will have been in my home longer than the next lessee of the racetrack if it is leased out again. Also, the case was Luna v. West, Tn Court of Appeals Middle District and to my knowledge it has not been overturned, instead it was remanded back to the trial court to impose the noise standards set out by that trial court. Just because the EPA doesn't enforce noise levels doesn't mean a court won't impose them based upon what the EPA says they should be. If your group would agree that the Racetrack needed to go in order to save the fairgrounds I as well as some of my neighbors probably would consider working with you. However, with all do respect you can't see the forest for the trees on this issue! We are not going to give up until the noise from the racetrack is gone forever. You have members of your group who are only concerned about the racetrack and if your agenda is not racetrack related maybe you should distance yourself from those members. Have a nice weekend!

By: some1else on 1/22/10 at 6:29

117 said - "A public nuisance is a public nuisance and it does not matter who or what was there first."

Actually it does. The legal definition of 'nuisance' is based on existing levels of noise in the neighborhood -- for instance, move next to an existing airport, and you have no case, move next to an existing race track, and you have no case. However, if an airport, race track or anything else moved into the neighborhood and increased the pre-existing noise level, then you would have a case. It this were not so, every major airport in the US could not exist, nor most interstate highways inside of urban areas.

When your house was built, or when the race track was modified has nothing to do with it. Nor does 'who' has the lease-- it's whether the *activity* existed before 'you' moved in- and in your case, it certainly did. There was active auto racing before your house, or any other in your neighborhood was built ( i can show you in old aerial photos if you'd like) - and well before you and even i, were born.

"Luna" was in fact vacated-- the appeals court said the restrictions were too broad-- and yes it was also remanded, but i believe it was dropped before it was ever heard again. However it makes no difference-- as i pointed out previously, "luna" is not on point because it's the case of the race track coming *after* the neighbors...

Also, for legal purposes, 'noise level' is the year-long average, not just a single event. With only about 30 race days a year (6 months x 1 race a week) it's very likely that noise over in your neighborhood (and it's the sound measured in your neighborhood, not at the track itself) would not rise to a legally objectionable level -- that would sort of depend on how many extra practice days were held...

117 said - "you can't see the forest for the trees on this issue!"

it that ain't the pot calling the kettle black!

I've explained the following to you over and over, and you don't seem to understand-- so i'll try to use the smallest words i can this time.

there is legislation (law) that requires a state fair to be held on *that* property for at least six days a year. the law does not give any authority to change that, as it was intended to be 'permanent' (that means "forever").

the law *does* give the Fair Board the authority to lease out parts of the property for "educational" and "entertainment" purposes provided it does not interfer with the state fair.

the law does not require racing at the race track. racing is a leased activity at the fairgrounds (even though racing is historically the reason there is a fairgrounds in the first place).

me, and our group, do not feel that there is any purpose to argue about the race track at this time, and even so, it's not our argument. The power to have or not have racing lies with the fair board-- the race fans and the race opponents can argue it with them.

however, we do feel it's the height of idiocy to scrap the fairgrounds because some people don't like the racetrack noise. especially when it's apparent that those people are a minority of the neighborhood, and only recently moved in.

keep the fairgrounds, then you can make your argument to the Fair Board-- and i promise, i won't interfer as long as you keep it truthful.

if you and your group would/could stick to the truth, without innuendo and mis-information, i'd pretty much keep quiet--

incidentially, you mentioned horse racing- we've actually had some contact with a group who has some interest in bringing harness racing back to the fairgrounds.

surely you had someone at our Community Meeting who can tell you that the racetrack was barely mentioned at our meeting, and was never even a topic of discussion.

By: 117_acres on 1/23/10 at 5:01

Some1esle,
You don't live in our neighborhood so how would you have any idea what the noise levels are! We have had someone come out and test the noise a couple of years ago. I can assure you the noise was well above 55 decibels. An airport has a civic purpose for people to be able to travel from one place to another. It also provides jobs and economic impact to a city. The fairgrounds speedway is an undue burden on the nearby neighborhoods and it provides very little economic impact if any at all to the City of Nashville. BTW, we hear planes and trains in our neighborhood but the noise is for a couple of minutes not 7 or 8 hours at a time and they are not any where near as loud as the racetrack. If the people reading this want to see want some1else and the rest of the Racetrack Heritage Group are all about go to this link below and pay careful attention to the last 45 seconds of the video. Also, the State Attorney General has informed Metro government that there are no restrictions on the land and the city can do whatever it wants to with the property. Please see link below and pay attention to what the Lisa Leeds says about racing.
http://www.wsmv.com/video/21036996/index.html

By: 117_acres on 1/23/10 at 5:06

Sorry here is the link below. Pay careful attention to what is said in the last 45 seconds of the video especially when the groups compares the racetrack to LP field.

http://www.wsmv.com/video/21036996/index

By: some1else on 1/24/10 at 2:56

117 said "the noise was well above 55 decibels."

don't know where you got this number-- a telephone dial tone is 80 decibels! normal city traffic is 85 decibels... normal conversation is 60-70 decibels... besides, there is no restriction on race track noise levels.... and even where noise levels are considered, it's the increase over the 'normal' level of that neighborhood that counts, not the total level -- and the 'normal' level in your neighborhood happens to include a racetrack.

another attempt to misdirect away from the issue.

117 said -- "Also, the State Attorney General has informed Metro government that there are no restrictions on the land and the city can do whatever it wants to with the property"

not true... if you had been at our meeting instead of the Moore re-election rally (engineered by the mayor to interfere with our meeting-- a move that failed!)-- we would have shown you a copy of the AG opinion that you refer to... which does not say there are "no" restrictions on the property-- it says there are no restrictions contained in the *deed*-- he did not address the legislative restrictions contained in state law and the Metro charter-- nobody asked him that question. we had a copy of that report at the meeting, read it out loud to everyone, and discussed it. it actually does not support either side in this issue.

you know 117, it's about time you and your small group of fellow-travelers faced the reality that the guy who sold you your house lied when he said he could get the fairgrounds closed down and replaced with high-dollar shopping centers and condos, which would raise your property values and allow you to make a windfall profit on the sale of your house.

most of your neighbors don't want that -- they like their neighborhood and they like living there, and if you'd attended our meeting, you would have heard from quite a few of them - (more that what attended your meeting total!)..... they like the idea of having the STATE fairgrounds in their neighborhood.... they like the idea that having it there has held down property values and thus taxes in that area... that means that those people of modest incomes can afford to live in a nice neighborhood-- just one that has the fairgrounds in it...

All of the people in your group seem to have only been residents in that neighborhood for 2-3 years, and yet you come in trying to tell all your neighbors how things are going to be-- and they don't like that 117.

Even those people you paid to put the anti-fairgrounds/racetrack signs in their yards-- they put them there because you paid them, not because that's how they really feel-- otherwise you would not have had to pay them to put them there.

You keep thinking that somehow, you get to decide what happens to a piece of property that is a state institution that existed for over a hundred years before you moved into the neighborhood-- and remember it's a STATE institution... your neighborhood grew up around the fairgrounds fifty years after it was established, and fifty years before you moved in! You and all of your neighbors moved there knowing full-well that it was the fairgrounds, and that there was an active race track there.

Do you also think that the neighbors around LP field should be able to vote out the stadium because they don't like the noise and the traffic from the games there?

This is an institution that serves all of the people of the state ( approx. 85 of 95 Tennessee counties participated in last year's state fair)-- not just your neighborhood-- and thus while your neighborhood may have some concerns, it's not totally your decision. It's not like some one came in to build a fairgrounds *after* you bought your property - you bought your property knowing there was a fairgrounds there, and all that entailed..... just like as if you'd bought property under the runway at the airport-- should be no surprise there.

The issue here is the fairgrounds and the State Fair - not the race track. The race track is merely an activity on the property that exists at the pleasure of the fair board-- yet you're trying to make that an issue to bring down the entire fairgrounds. If you truly don't like the racetrack, you can take that up with the fair board, while still preserving the fairgrounds-- the fact that you don't only shows that destruction of the fairgrounds is your only goal. (and that is just so you can make a profit speculating on the value of your house).

The total fairgrounds operation brings in approximately $60 million a year in economic impact to Davidson County (based on Metro's own report)... accounts for over 29,000 hotel/motel nights a year, and brings in over 1 million visitors from outside the county-- not to mention how many residents frequent and enjoy the events held there. And all this without ever costing Metro a penny for over a hundred years. You can't find a better bargain than that!

By: 117_acres on 1/25/10 at 11:08

Some1esle maybe if you owned a home you would understand the issue. Also, buy me and my neighbors buying a home we have invested in the City of Nashville unlike you and the rest of the Racetrack group. Nobody promised me anything when I moved into the neighborhood! As for LP field it serves as a very valuable facility for the city of Nashville. I'm sure the residents of East Nashville overwhelmingly support LP field. Here is the facts regarding LP field as I see them.

Tennessee Titans use this facility and probably have an average attendance of 70,000 at each home game. Having an NFL and NHL teams in Nashville gives the city of Nashville national creditability and puts us in the national and international media. All home games are on national television that allows the networks to show several exterior shots of the city during the telecast which again allows viewers to see this City. Also, having an NFL team and NHL team attracts businesses to not only Middle Tennessee but to the entire State of Tennessee. Businesses when relocating look at the overall quality of life that a City and State can provide in helping them determine where they want to relocate. Also, Tennessee State University plays all of its home games at LP field which gives TSU a great venue to play ball and again gives us national exposure. The CMA Music Festival one of the biggest economic events in Nashville uses LP field to host its summer festival which draws 70,000 people from all over the world to the city for the week long event. CMA Music Festival use to be at the fairgrounds but they decided to move because the facilities at the fairgrounds where to run down and there was not enough room on top of the hill where all the buildings are located to host 70,000 people. The Country Music Marathon which has an annual impact of forty (40) million dollars using LP Field as the finish line for the 1/2 and full marathon. The Music City Bowl which on a good year has annual impact of twenty eight (28) million dollars uses LP field. The World Cup is consider having is 2018 or 2024 tournament in Nashville and big reason for that is because of LP field. Just in case you don't know the World Cup is arguably the biggest sporting event in the World(Earth). None of these events substantially burden or create a public nuisance unlike like the dilapidated fairgrounds speedway. All these events listed above create economic impact and provide an amount of national and international exposure that the City of Nashville and the state of Tennessee cannot but a price tag on. It was cost hundreds of millions of dollars to pay to get the exposure that LP field brings to the city of Nashville. Please see letter regarding economic impact of Music City Marathon which in one weekend brings in almost as much money as the fairgrounds(if your information is correct) does for the entire 365 days it operates.
For over a decade, the Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon has
attracted thousands of visitors annually to Nashville and since our
primary goal each year, in addition to putting on a great and
impactful event for the entire community, is to grow the event; I am
writing to ask for your support of the Music City Center.

The Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon is one of 14 major marathons
and half marathons involving some 300,000 participants that my
company, The Competitor Group, Inc. (formerly Elite Racing), organizes
each year. It has grown all but one year since its inaugural running
in 2000, and now with more than 30,000 entrants, it is 24% larger than
the 113 year old Boston Marathon, and our half marathon is the 2nd
largest in the country! And better yet, there is vast potential for
this event to keep growing. But unfortunately, we are bursting at the
seams of the current convention center, where we hold our 2-day Health
& Fitness Expo on the Thursday and Friday before the Saturday race,
and where everyone (and their guests) must go to pick up their running
number.
It is critical for the future of large-scale events, such as ours,
that you support the Music City Center. It is pivotal to the strength
of the event, which draws people from all parts of the country and
from across the world to Nashville, generating well over $40,000,000
worth of economic impact annually.
As successful as the Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon has been, we
are still far from achieving its ultimate potential as both an event
in and unto itself, and as a generator of economic-impact for the
region. Voting in favor of the Music City Center will give us a
legitimate chance to achieve both of these goals.
Sincerely,
Tracy Sundlun, VP
Competitor Group, Inc.

By: some1else on 1/25/10 at 12:52

i don't have to own a home to understand the issue-- since i'm old enough to be your grandfather, was raised in a family of politicians, and trained in community organizing, i probably have a better grasp of it than you -- in fact, based on your writings, a much better grasp.

I don't know about the racetrack group you refer too, but the majority of the Fairgrounds Heritage Preservation Group happen to own homes, and most of them in the fairgrounds neighborhood-- but we are ALL taxpayers and we ALL live in Davidson County, and that's all it takes to be concerned or to have a voice in the issue.

As to your LP field stats, all they seem to show is that a typical event there brings in about as many people as a weekend flea market. And yet, Metro paid out millions of dollars in tax money to establish that venue, and continues to pay out millions each year to cover their shortfalls.

You mention all of these events, which most people in this county can't afford to attend, and many just don't have any interest in. What about the rest of the folks who don't care about football, soccer, ice hockey or jogging?? Don't they deserve something for their tax dollars that are poured into these other events??

How about people who are more interested in flea markets, antique shows, the Christmas show, the boat show, gun shows, computer shows, the civil war show, wrestling, roller derby-- I could go on, because the fairgrounds are booked over 280 days out of the year!

How about keeping the fairgrounds, which costs taxpayers NOTHING! That's not too much to ask is it?? Keeping something that's sustained itself for over 100 years and provides entertainment for over a million people each year?? And in return, without paying out a penny, Metro gets a free $60 million each year in economic benefit. Whata deal!

Support the "common mans civic center."

By: 117_acres on 1/25/10 at 3:05

Some1else, there are other places to host all those events you mentioned. You don't need 117 acres of land two miles from downtown to do an antique show, Christmas show, boat show, gun show, computer show and etc. For example current Convention Center, Sommet center, New Convention Center, and municipal auditorium are not on anywhere close to a 117 acres of land and they host and will host all kinds of events. If you are concerned about these events you should be lobbying the city to purchase or build a building on less land that would be suitable and still affordable for those shows. Call Council members Crafton and Dominy they've both go huge empty malls sitting in their council districts. I personally like all of those events and feel that they are important to the city of Nashville but we need a place that is more suitable for them. The city needs the fairgrounds property to create jobs and to provide an open green space for the over 600,000 residents of Davidson County. I understand that the flea market does bring in several thousand people one weekend a month but I dispute your numbers regarding exactly how many. This past weekend they might have had 5,000 people go to the flea market because of the weather. Also, you have to remember the flea market is only one weekend a month which equals 24 days a year. I also, dispute your claim that the fairgrounds is booked 280 days a year. FYI if there is 10 events booked this coming weekend they count that as 10 calendar days. Most events that take place at the fairgrounds do so on the weekend which means the property is not being use during the week. So, basically the 117 acres sits empty well over six (6) months out of the year. In fact most of the property sits empty all year long because nothing is on it expect asphalt.
If you are old enough to be my grandfather that means you would be at or around 100 years old and this is just your attempt to prevent those of us who will be living here the next 30 to 40 years from doing something really special with this property. Since you have lead me to believe that you do not owe property in Davidson County but claim that a majority of your members do made me do a quick property search on five people who may be associated with your group and only one (1) of them owed property in Davidson County which is fine, I just don't consider them as invested in the city of Nashville has someone who does on property here. You've got your opinion and I've got mine, I guess time will only tell who's opinion was more on point with what the city does with this property. Is this the common mans fairgrounds or the white trash fairgrounds. I consider myself to be a common man but I don't consider myself to be "white trash".

By: some1else on 1/25/10 at 3:42

well.. one thing you didn't mention was that you *do* need 117 acres to host the state fair, and there is a legal requirement to have the state fair on that property... remember, it's the *State* fairgrounds....

apparently you don't care enough about learning the facts to take time to follow the story in the media.. .it's already been reported that there are not suitable venues for these events in this county, and in fact, that's what forced them to change the projected close date from june to december-- Metro was embarrassed by all the media reports of these events planning to move to other counties.

but just to recap the stories for you a bit---

the civic center requires a commitment in hotel rooms to rent space-- not practicable or affordable for these events-- the new civic center will have the same policy, but be more expensive.

the civic auditorium has no wiring on the floor, and it would cost millions to rewire that building- thus, it's not suitable for booth-type events such as the flea-market, computer show, civil war show and other booth-type events.

nashville arena (sommet) -- is way more expensive than these types of events can pay...

and yes, the attendance and booking figures are correct, more correct than your speculation-- those are the *official* figures published by Metro....

and no, we don't need to do anything with the fairgrounds to create jobs-- it already creates hundreds of jobs, and costs nothing. we need the fairgrounds to be exactly what it is-- a fairgrounds.

the only problem with the fairgrounds is that over the years politics has been allowed to enter into the picture and they have let metro raid the funds-- they may could have kept the place up better if metro had not raided their reserve fund for $6million for titans stadium... and then continue to overcharge them for services such as vehicle maintenance, book keeping, radio repair, cell phones, etc.

if they would get politics out it, get a new fair board who was serious about their commitment to preserve the place and then keep metro's hand out of the till, it would be just fine...

By: 117_acres on 1/25/10 at 4:13

Some1else please forgive some of my misspellings in my previous post.
Do you really believe everything you hear in the media? If you do then you probably believe the world is going to come to an end tomorrow. Also, I was not suggesting that those events move to the Convention Center, Sommet Center, or Municipal auditorium, I was just making a point that those venues do not take up a 117 acres of land and still provide expo and entertainment space. Questions for you. Does any Charter or Legislation prevent the sale of the fairgrounds property? The charter may in fact say that the property shall be used for a State Fair but that does not prevent it from being sold unless there is a condition within the charter that prohibits the sale of the land. So, basically without a condition to prohibit the sale of the property Metro can do what it wants to with the property. From my understanding the state of Tennessee sold the property to Nashville in fee simple without any conditions or attachments so I don't know how you can continue to say,"Nashville has to put on a State Fair".

By: some1else on 1/25/10 at 4:59

117 - you understand wrong-- the state of Tennessee never owned the property, even when they managed the State Fair themselves...

the property was owned by the harness racing association at the time it was sold to Davidson County-- there are no conditions contained in the current deed (the previous deed *did* have a restriction that it only be a race track, but that was not carried forward), but the current restrictions are in the legislation/charter that require that to be a 'permanent fairground' and requires the fair board to have a fair of at least six days a year on that specific property.

although there is no authority to sell or trade the property, there *is* authority to lease it for "educational' or 'amusement' purposes, provided it does not interfere with the state fair-- this restriction of purpose is why we led a fight this past year to have the school buses removed from the property... no one was educated by the parked metro school buses, and the neighbors were not amused.

if they're in a bind for money, the Fair Board also has the authority to mortgage the property for an operating loan, as well as the authority to levy a "fair tax" on Davidson County -- sorta gives a new meaning to the 'fair tax movement' ...

and no, i don't believe everything i hear in the media-- but i believe a lot of what people tell them in interviews, especially when i've talked to those folks myself.

and unlike the civic center, arena, etc. the fairgrounds is capable of multiple events at one time-- one reason for so many buildings (other than their use for the fair)... i recently went to the civil war show there, and at the same time in different buildings there was a post card show, a guitar show, and some other thing i was never quite sure what it was...

The fairgrounds has 120,000 sq ft of exhibit space, the Nashville Civic Center has 118,000 sq feet, and both are dwarfed by Opryland's 600,000 sq feet.

By: Face on 2/8/10 at 2:08

Thank you to all who are for developing the fairgrounds into something less ugly and more useful!

For all opposed stop being so damn selfish,go watch your cars drive in a circle somewhere else.You shouldn't have an opinion unless the fairgrounds are lowering your property value like it is for everyone in the Woodbine/Waverly Belmont neighborhoods. The fact that people are willing to hold a neighborhoods development back just because the want to go and pay to park so they can go buy trash once a month or go watch cars drive in a circle real loud for a few hours is so selfish,not to mention they close that road off that some people use to get to work for every dirty little redneck fair that comes to town. Man I love it when there are carnies walking distance from my home and children....seriously do you want them to move that dirty ass eyesore into YOUR neighborhood? Think about someone else for a change!

By: MAmom on 10/10/10 at 12:07

THANK YOU VERY MUCH Nashville City Paper for not being afraid to cover this STORY. It is a legitimate story. People are interested in it... over 30,000 people have signed petitions to save the fairgrounds. And these are just THE TIP OF AN ICEBURG... just those people who have attended functions at the fairgrounds recently.

If the property is sold - few will benefit - many will lose.

Let's not "monetize" the issue. The property was a gift to the people. It is disingenuous to give away a gift. In the intervening years it has become the poor (and middle class) man's convention center - especially in rough economic times it should be retained.

Renovated the fairgrounds could be made a into an outstanding public place - a forum/showplace other cities would envy. It is is big enough to house: -a park & playground, -State Fair, -Flea Market & Expo events, -race track (with as much sound-proofing as possible), -an amphitheatre / stage, and also a large, central, accessible site in times of emergency (e.g.: tornado, earthquake, etc.) to house displaced people, if needed at some future date.

Renovating and improving the Fairgrounds would employ architects, contractors, and many others. If done well - homeowners around the Fairgrounds would see their property values soar - good for them and Realtors. The public would be served & monies would routinely flow into the city's coffers. And at some future time - if there is ever a really big emergency in Nashville (e.g.: tornado, earthquake, etc.) - it would be nice for the city to have a big block of centrally-located land to help displaced people.

CONVERSELY - IF THE FAIRGROUNDS PROPERTY IS SOLD AND BECOMES COMMERCIAL PROPERTY - and fairground activities are not given an comparable site - it will be remembered as a land grab by city representatives who ignored the concerns of the public & result in an incalculable loss for future Nashvillians who in future years will only be able to think back to a time when Nashville had a neat place called the Fairgrounds.

SILENCE WILL BE INTERPRETED AS AGREEMENT OR ACQUIESCENCE.
Ostensibly the Council represents Nashvillians. If you are upset by the Mayor's plan - communicate this to your representative - tell them you do NOT want the property sold - that you want to keep the Fairgrounds open & improved. And, if possible, attend the next Council meeting and let them know how you feel about the plans to discard/dismantle the Fairgrounds.

Thanks.

By: FANOF711 on 1/27/11 at 8:49

SAVE THE RACETRACK AND GET RID OF KARL DEAN THE LIEING NASHVILLE MAYOR AND WHEN ELECTIONS COME UP AGAIN FOR OUR GOOD OLE COUNCIL MEMBERS REMEMBER WHO HELPED OUR CAUSE AND WHO DIDNT.
HES GOT DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE IN SUCH A MESS YOU CANT GET IN OR OUT
AND REMEMBER ALL THE PEOPLE HE PUT OUT OF BUSSINESS AND ALL THE BUSSINESS THAT HAD TO MOVE OVER HIS HALF A BILLION DOLLAR TOY THAT MOST OF US WILL NEVER SEE THE INSIDE OF BUT WILL HAVE TO PAT FOR IT FOR ALONG TIME.