Republicans, Craddock say vote 'yes' on fairgrounds referendum

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 2:39pm

The Davidson County Republican Party is zeroing in on the upcoming referendum to decide whether to keep the status quo at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, with party officials Tuesday announcing recent straw poll results that indicate 93 percent of participants support its preservation.

“That’s what’s going to bring these people out to vote,” Davidson County Republican Party chair Kathleen Starnes said. “Our conservative people want to save the fairgrounds.”

Party officials conducted the poll at last Saturday’s party picnic held at Centennial Park. An estimated 250 Republicans were in attendance, with more than 200 taking part in the straw poll, Starnes said.

Metro’s early voting begins July 15 and Election Day is on Aug. 4. Several council candidates — both at-large and district — are running on pro-fairgrounds platforms.

With Mayor Karl Dean lacking a formidable opponent, many Nashvillians consider the fairgrounds referendum the most intriguing draw. The referendum seeks to amend the Metro Charter to keep all existing uses intact on the 117-acre property.

Because voting is just days away, it’s seems likely Dean — who supports redevelopment of the fairgrounds — doesn’t plan to wage a “No” campaign to defeat the proposed amendment. 

On Tuesday, a well-crafted video narrated by Metro Councilman Michael Craddock also surfaced. In it, the term-limited councilman appeals to the preservation of the fairgrounds. Craddock, a pro-fairgrounds favorite who pulled out of the mayor’s race at the last moment, begins the 7-minute video addressing a small crowd:

“I want to talk to you today about the history of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds,” Craddock begins. “Because we have a mayor that’s trying to destroy it. And on Aug. 4, we’re going to be faced with a decision to vote ‘yes’ for the fairgrounds or ‘no’ for the fairgrounds.”

The video has some connection to the Republican Party, but not a financial one. Starnes said the county’s Republican party did not pay for the video; rather, one of the party’s supporters paid for it out of his own pocket.

“He’s a friend of ours, yeah,” Starnes said. “It was just an idea that we had, and this guy jumped up and said, ‘I’ll do it.’ ” 

67 Comments on this post:

By: Shane Smiley on 7/12/11 at 1:06

A vote "FOR" ratification is a vote FOR saving the Fairgrounds.

By: bfra on 7/12/11 at 1:15

Everybody that votes "FOR" ratification, should vote "NO" for Karl Dean!

By: boyer barner on 7/12/11 at 2:00

It's common knowledge that many of Dean's staffers were shocked when they heard of his plans to demolish the fairgrounds -- they knew he was going after something he had no business touching. They also likely foresaw what is happening now.

In face of all the growing opposition, Dean continues to behave like a Pit Bull and refuses to let go.

I'm sure those same staffers would like to get a leash around his neck and put him back in the yard.

But who's gonna mess with a mad dog?

Especially one that is always ready to bite you.

By: GammaMoses on 7/12/11 at 2:08

Thanks Smiley for the clarification. It would have been nice if Craddock said vote "For ratification" if you want to save the Fairgrounds. The ballot doesn't have a yes/no vote on the amendment. The ballot amendment is written as "All activities being conducted on the premises of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds as of December 31,2010, including, but not limited to, the Tennessee State Fair, Expo Center Events, Flea Markets, and Auto Racing, shall be continued on the same site. No demolition of the premises shall be allowed to occur without approval by ordinance receiving 27 votes by the Metropolitan Council or amendment to the Metropolitan Charter." Choices after all this legal language are "For ratification" or "Against ratification."

By: localboy on 7/12/11 at 2:27

“That’s what’s going to bring these people out to vote,” Davidson County Republican Party chair Kathleen Starnes said. “Our conservative people want to save the fairgrounds.”
Wait, I think I hear thunder..must mean a liberal's been found who wants to save the fairgrounds, too.;)

By: JohnR on 7/12/11 at 2:43

Thank you Smiley. The video was probably made before the ballot was released. Which brings up another question. Why is the question worded that way. Why didn't it just say YES or No.

Wait, I know, "it's all connected.

Lastly, localboy, what does it matter if you are an R or a D? I think there is support for the fairgrounds from both parties and all walks of life.

By: fair_minded on 7/12/11 at 2:50

Just voting in favor of the referendum is not enough.

This referendum is really not strong enough, although it's a good first step.

The fairgrounds was created by a specific referendum and bond issue for the purpose of establishing "a permanent fairgrounds" on that property. Since it was established by the direct will of the citizens of Davidson County, it should require the same action to undo it in the future. Even a super-majority of the metro council should not be able to undo what the people have established.

As it stands now, even with the referendum in hand, the super-majority of metro can still vote to tear down the fairgrounds.

And you can bet your cornflakes that right now, Dean is spreading around his money and influence, doing everything he can to get *his* candidates voted in, and to continue the terms of his toadies already on the council.

He wants to be sure that he has a super-majority, not only for the fairgrounds, but to pass any other wild idea he may come up with in the next four years.

So in addition to voting "YES" on the referendum, please come out and vote for the metro council candidates, both new and incumbent, who support the fairgrounds. And this is especially true of the council-at-large members-- Dean's "gang of five" who tried so hard to take down the fairgrounds!

Even though this is an "un-opposed" election, it's even more important to insure that Dean does *not* get his super-majority, and that we have a metro council who does what it's supposed to do-- act as a check and balance against the mayor.

Many people feel that it's not important to vote in an un-opposed election. But that is far from the truth. Right now, Dean is doing everything possible to get his hand-picked candidates, and especially incumbant and at-large candidates, his "gang of five", voted into office. The only way to combat that is to make sure he's not successful.

Find out about the candidates in your district. Find out about the at-large candidates. Vote for the ones who support the fairgrounds. Make sure that they are elected by overwhelming majorities.

And since many people do not vote in unopposed elections, it's even more important that you urge your neighbors, friends, family, co-workers, club and church members to come out and vote in this election to support the fairgrounds. Do no let a small minority decide the election for the majority of citizens!

By: Mag77 on 7/12/11 at 3:14

I can't figure out why anyone cares about the fairgrounds. I'd pay money not to go to the fair, and no one with a half a brain would miss the rest of the crap out there.

By: cmarcus45 on 7/12/11 at 3:26

It is actions such as this which caused me to lose interest in the local Republican party. The role of the local party is to help Republicans and conservatives get elected, not to step into policy debates or, as here, discussions about hot issues. I do not write this as a proponent of fairgrounds redevelopment. Frankly, I have not yet decided how I will vote on the referendum, but one thing is clear: the local party should not be involved in this sort of debate.

By: bfra on 7/12/11 at 3:33

No demolition of the premises shall be allowed to occur without approval by ordinance receiving 27 votes by the Metropolitan Council or amendment to the Metropolitan Charter.

That part should have been by "a referendum voted on by the people". Karl already has the council stacked and is only backing those that will do his bidding

By: bfra on 7/12/11 at 3:37

Mag77 - no one with a half a brain would miss the rest of the crap out there

That statement following your opening one, pretty much says, why you don't like the Fairgrounds! LOL

By: bfra on 7/12/11 at 3:39

fair_minded - xcuse me! I wrote my opinion of the referendum before I saw yours, you stated it much better. Thank you.

By: Funditto on 7/12/11 at 6:43

I can say with CERTAINTY the Ms. Starnes and her Mercedes have never crossed the threshold of the fairgrounds, much less watched a race - unless of course it was black tie with champagne. This is a wedge issue created by her party. And Nashville will be the loser. Oh well.

By: Funditto on 7/12/11 at 6:44

And why would Republicans support something that costs the taxpayers money? It doesn't make sense - at all.

By: fair_minded on 7/12/11 at 8:42

well Funditto, they probably support the fairgrounds because they realize that it's totally self-supporting, and has been for over 100years. It's never cost the taxpayers a penny.

They probably also realize that even in it's dilapidated condition, it brings in $50-$60 million each year in economic benefits for Davidson County. Republicans are big on economic benefits.

They're also big on business, even small ones, and the fairgrounds supports hundreds of small business through not only the flea market, but various other events that are mainly put on by small businesses.

It's also possible that they realize that metro has been systematically raping the fairgrounds funds for the past 10 years with such unlawful charges as LOCAP fees (the metro charter specifies that all funds generated by the fair be retained for "fair purposes), overpriced maintenance fees for the fairgrounds golf carts, overpriced accounting fees, etc. In fact, metro is not supposed to even touch the fairgrounds funds-- the charter specifies that the county trustee handle the funds from the fairgrounds, *not* metro finance-- probably somebody knew what would happen if metro finance had their hand in the till.

Or maybe they hark back to Teddy Roosevelt-- maybe the greatest Republican ever-- who invented our National Park System with the idea that everyone needs a place for recreation and play-- especially the common folk.

Perhaps they realize that the fairgrounds, in any condition, bring in more economic impact that un-leased office space or un-sold condos, two things that Nashville needs about the same as Custer needs another Indian.

Maybe they just realize that this is truly a non-partisan issue, and that the fairgrounds is a public institution that belongs to all of us, and if we ever lose it, it can never be replaced. It's a place for kids, and adults, and old folks.

It's a place for the State Fair and those funky little shows that could not play anywhere else. It's where we have a historic racetrack and an eclectic flea market. It's home to over 250 events each year. It's a place to use for emergencies like abused horses and dogs. It's where we took the buses when the river rose. It's where we passed out emergency water then, and yesterday when the weather soared over 100. It's part of our heritage and it reminds us where we came from. It's part of Nashville.

By: boyer barner on 7/12/11 at 9:39


Davidson County residents pay Bud Adams about $6,000,000 a year (in taxes) to maintain his stadium.

Also, he realizes revenues from the first ten or so musical concerts/events that are played there each year. Let's say the Rolling Stones play there. Adams will get the money.

On Bridgestone Arena, Davidson County residents pay about $2,000,000 a year to maintain it.

On the fairgrounds, Davidson County residents pay nothing.

I for one, live two miles from the fairgrounds. I have lived in the same place for 25 years. I'm a Vandy grad. I attend the car races. I attend the flea market. I have attended trade-shows there, etc. I have also been part of a trade show there on behalf of a locally-owned company. It was VERY affordable.

You need to find an argument that has some feet.

By: HokeyPokey on 7/13/11 at 5:19

Mag, if you say "republican" and "half a brain" well, you've said it all.


By: govskeptic on 7/13/11 at 5:36

Not sure why the Republican Party is weighting in on this issue, it's certainly not
a Political Party Partisan Issue. A vote of "Yes", which I certainly hope a majority
decides, will not come because the Mayor opposes that vote or the Republicans
encourages it. This property is an asset to Davidson and supplies a venue for a
large number of events that cannot afford to go downtown. Many will go to
surrounding counties, being really inconvenient to our county residence, while we
have no idea what will then become of this property. Voting "Yes" only means it will
take more than a simple majority of council members to change the usage!

By: frodo on 7/13/11 at 5:53

I approach this election with great indifference about the fairgrounds, although as a mostly-conservative I am annoyed that the R party has seized upon the fairgrounds issue to make it a club over the Mayor's head. I'd rather hear about more vital issues, like why we keep dumping so many taxpayer dollars into propping up downtown businesses and refusing to allow office development in other parts of town, prefering to see them go to Cool Springs.

But as I read the passion about the fairgrounds and what it has meant and continues to mean in people's lives -- and even after choking at the suggestion the progressive Teddy Roosevelt "maybe the greatest Republican ever" -- I have to say I am moved to sympathy for fairgrounds supporters. As articulated above, the fairgrounds cost the taxpayers nothing and actually provides revenue (albeit malappropriated by Metro Finance...aren't there laws, judges and jails for such swindles?). I did not support the stadium. I'm not convinced on the convention center. And I am a bit surprised that Republicans are so enthused about a non-essential government enterprise like the fairgrounds. But at least it is not bleeding the coffers dry. So let 'em have their farigrounds. Its not hurting or costing anyone.

But may the Davidson County Republican Party not become the Fairgrounds Party, like Teddy Roosevelt marginalized good people to the Bull Moose Party and split the vote ushering in Woodrow Wilson. Rallying around cheap cotton candy and stock car races does not a political party make.

By: Moonglow1 on 7/13/11 at 6:32

Moonglow1: since when are Republicans against development? The only reason why Starnes & her group is supporting the fairgrounds is to make Dean look bad. As someone posted earlier Starnes has never attended any events at the fairgrounds. I would like her group to support the fairgrounds by attending the races and the fair. it will not be enough to make statements of support. Let's see these Republicans at the fairground's events. We should hold the circus on site. The circus would be the perfect event for the Republican Tea to attend.

By: bfra on 7/13/11 at 6:46

Does anyone have proof that Starnes has never attended any events at the Fairgrounds? As an independent, if the Republicans rallying for the Fairground vote, will put Dean out of office, I say "Have at it".

By: Kosh III on 7/13/11 at 6:49


you forgot to say that we also give the Predators a 7 million dollar welfare check each year in addition to the upkeep of the facility.

There is all this whining about the need for a medium sized venue for concerts; isn't the racetrack suitable? It used to be when Fan Fair was there but then it got moved to downtown, the only part of the city that Dean & Co care about.

By: budlight on 7/13/11 at 6:56

Fan Fair is aweful downtown. It was much more personal and fun at the Fair Grounds. Now it's just a bunch of vendors. Move it back to the fairgrounds.

By: rldavenport@com... on 7/13/11 at 7:08

This is one Republican who is in favor of redeveloping that whole property. I grew up in Nashville, but I have only attended our State Fair twice because it is a JOKE. The state fairs of nearby states such as Kentucky and Indiana are far superior to ours. Ours is so landlocked that there is no room for expansion and growth. Also, the flea market only operates one weekend a month. It's all good and well there are 250+ events at the fairgrounds, but that's not enough of a justification in my mind to keep that eyesore of a property. It could be even more profitable to Metro by being redeveloped into an even more useful commercial property or whatever.

I enjoy history, but this is one "historical" property that I would love to see demolished.

By: bfra on 7/13/11 at 7:20

ridaven - I have been to State Fairs in many States and for the size of our Town, our State Fair stands up with some of the best & better than some. As you have only been to the Nashville State Fair twice, that doesn't make you much of a judge.

By: BigPapa on 7/13/11 at 7:27

I will be voting to demolish the FG. And unlike many of the preservationist, I actually live here.

By: bfra on 7/13/11 at 7:39

Narrow minding, is thinking someone has to "live here" to support the Fairgrounds! People from all over this State, surrounding States & even other Countries come to the events at the Fairgrounds. So why would anyone think, only locals are allowed to support the Fairgrounds?

By: BigPapa on 7/13/11 at 8:36

Because we pay for it and we get to vote on it. The End.

By: macjedi on 7/13/11 at 8:45

So Republicans support keeping the blight of the fairgrounds. Got it. Voting NO then.

Seriously, this endorsement is a great way to kill their cause. Associating our local GOP with anything will drum up plenty of enemies for it. Not me - I was done with that useless and nasty place a long time ago.

The battle for a racetrack in Nashville was lost years ago when the Superspeedway opened. The preservation of history is plenty possible WITHOUT keeping this poorly-cared-for eyesore and waste of space.

I don't know what to do with the land and that is certainly up for discussion, but one thing is sure: the WRONG thing is being done now.

AND IT IS WRONG TO ALTER A FOUNDING DOCUMENT (METRO CHARTER) TO PROTECT A SPECIAL-INTEREST LIKE THIS. If Republicans were not already so obviously hypocritical, this would shock me.

While we're at it, I'd like to write the preservation of my first mailbox into the U.S. Constitution.

By: bfra on 7/13/11 at 8:58

By: BigPapa on 7/13/11 at 9:36

Because we pay for it and we get to vote on it. The End.

Who is WE & how much did WE pay for it?

By: RJP on 7/13/11 at 9:04

rjp Can we get a list of council members, that are for and against the fairgrounds so when we cast our vote it will be for a council that listens to what the people in there district want and need. Council members do a lot more than just fight over the fairgrounds! How we can all work together is the most important thing.If you were misled by a council member or the mayor you have every right to speak up.Times change, values don't. And a persons word should be there bond.Still waiting for speeding tickets to be handed out in district 30. 50 and 60 seems a bit fast in a 30 zone. School is just around the corner.

By: on 7/13/11 at 9:09

Moonglow1, Dean doesn't need any help, he's doing fine all by himself.

By: localboy on 7/13/11 at 10:02

"Lastly, localboy, what does it matter if you are an R or a D? I think there is support for the fairgrounds from both parties and all walks of life."
So true, JohnR - my comment was mildly sarcastic in nature, sorry it was misunderstood.

By: jimmie on 7/13/11 at 10:53

Those Democrats trying to make this issue a partison one let me let you in on a little secret that you can even validate yourself...the Democrats took the same poll and guess what the response was.....the same overwhelming majority!

So even though I don't consider myself a Republican I have to respect the leadership for being honest and forthcoming on the issue while the Democratic leadership (bredesen and Dean and hired PR and political operatives) is trying to hide the truth.

Any nashvillian can take a poll themselves, ask coworkers ask shoppers at any store even green hills mall.....results will be the same.

By: boyer barner on 7/13/11 at 11:08

Hey macjedi ,

Word on the street is that the Super Speedway will be "closing" this season.

It will likely revert back to a test track.

NASCAR is rumored to already be looking at The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

The economic benefit to our city will be very significant. NASCAR fans have higher than average incomes. When they visit a city, it is often as part of a "vacation" so they spend money on hotel rooms and entertainment.

The fairgrounds track just requires some safety upgrades and it will be NASCAR-ready.

It would be a shame to tear it down. It's like a slot machine ready to spit big bucks into our local economy.

By: rldavenport@com... on 7/13/11 at 12:30

bfra, it does make me enough of a judge when it comes to spending MY money on something I don't consider worth the money or the time & effort to support. I don't know which states you have visited (maybe Mississippi & Alabama?), but our state fair is still a joke in my mind. The Wilson County Fair is superior to the state fair (and is thus a better attended fair). Our state fair needs to be moved to a larger piece of property so it can grow and be something we can all take pride in.

boyer barner: Why on earth would NASCAR even consider the Fairgrounds Speedway? It needs much more than just safety upgrades.

By: BigPapa on 7/13/11 at 12:43

"NASCAR is rumored to already be looking at The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway"What??/ That is simply not true.. at all. There is NO way NASCAR comes to Nashville.. they were here and left, and that was the last time anyone cared about that dump of a track, 40 yrs ago.

By: bfra on 7/13/11 at 12:43

ridav - Well I did my comparison with Texas, California, Nebraska & Alaska State Fairs. Have also been to more County Fairs than I can rembember & The TN State Fair all my life, so I think I am a pretty good judge. Especially with someone that has only attended the TN State Fair twice!

By: ZANSIL on 7/13/11 at 1:07

This sounds to me like the Republicans are trying to get their people to the polls for any reason. If only the Democrats come to vote for the fairgrounds then there is a chance that Dean and his cronies will be defeated in the other races. They can't have that!

By: boyer barner on 7/13/11 at 1:56

I agree the state fair has a ways to go. That's why I am volunteering and getting involved. The fair board won't lift a finger, so citizens are deciding to get on board.

Hey rldavenport:

With Mike Curb Racing and Big Machine Entertainment joining in (Curb owns a NASCAR team and Big Machine CEO is an ex NASCAR racer), there is momentum moving forward for NASCAR to get back in the game.

Also, NASCAR wants and needs a presence in this part of the country. So as I said, they are looking into the possibility of sponsoring a race(s) here next season.

ALSO, the Fed Ex Electric Racing Team of Europe is moving cars to Nashville in the next 3 - 9 months. They will be using the Nashville Fairgrounds as a demonstration track for the electric race cars. (Not many people know this).

The track needs needs relatively minor improvements to be NASCAR-ready. The amount of money is less than the Bridge Stone Arena annual maintenance fee.

Could the track use more investment? Sure?

Things are moving forward for the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

And please remember, the new mufflers make noise a non-issue.

By: racer84 on 7/13/11 at 2:29

newBy: BigPapa on 7/13/11 at 1:43

"NASCAR is rumored to already be looking at The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway"What??/ That is simply not true.. at all. There is NO way NASCAR comes to Nashville.. they were here and left, and that was the last time anyone cared about that dump of a track, 40 yrs ago.

BigPapa - You've been stating the same lies and misinformation when it comes to the Fairgrounds,NASCAR, and this entire issue. I have to admit I'm taking great personal joy in seeing you lose your mind in frustration that we are kicking your tail on the issue. If you aren't part of the discussions, and those discussions are not public how can you state what you have above with any sense of authority ?

I've been a part of those discussions. You have not.

I think I have a little more authority to know the truth. It is very true.

You can't back anything up with facts or logic. The racers do, why can't you ?

Google Dover Entertainment.....See how many of the tracks that they own have been shut down in the last 3 years.....Contact the Superspeedway in Lebanon and see how many employees have been let go in the last 3 years. The Nashville Superspeedway is on life support and the racing community is not working to help them....why ?

We know more than you. Accept it. You're wrong.

By: boyer barner on 7/13/11 at 9:06

Big Papa works for Dean. Or McNothing, Pighead and Flox.

By: Shane Smiley on 7/13/11 at 10:56

My guess is the Democrats have done a survey concerning the future of the Fairgrounds as well.
Even though this is a non partisan race, Mayor Dean is a known Democrat.
It wouldn't do for the Democrats to release their findings concerning the Fairgrounds. My understanding is, they came up with similar numbers in support of keeping the Fairgrounds when they did their own straw pole at a recent event.
All of Nashville needs to get out and vote. Vote "FOR" ratification of the charter amendment, Council at large candidates, and your local council member.

As for the NASCAR rumors,
It is true. If The Super Speedway releases NASCAR sanctioning or partners with The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, NASCAR has an interest in once again running events at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

If terms can be agreed to, The Truck and Nationwide series could make a return.
I know it isn't cup but, these two series have historically offered an economic impact of 20Million+ per event.
Our economy and hotels can surely use that kind of boost in these tough economic times.
The hotel tax money being used to pay for the MCC is not coming in as projected. The numbers are steady but at least 3% behind projections. If this trend continues, you can bet the Mayors office is going to be looking for even more property tax money to keep the city from defaulting and losing even more bond rating.

Many believe the Super Speedway will surrender NASCAR sanctioning following the July 22-23 event.
It is smart business for them to go ahead and release their dates back to NASCAR or partner with the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway for these dates and return NSS to a testing venue.
Super Speedway was designed with testing as a revenue stream.
The concrete surface and proximity to the shops in N.C. made testing the #1 revenue stream for the track
A few years back, NASCAR banned testing at any sanctioned track who supported an event in either the Camping World Truck Series, The Nationwide series, or the Sprint Cup division. This was done as a cost saving measure in an attempt to keep the competition tight.
This decision also played a part in dooming a number of tracks. They simply could not survive with the loss of testing revenue.

Indy Car races were the next biggest revenue stream. These races were mostly money makers or break evens.
I believe they only took a bath on one race. And boy did it pour rain that weekend.
When CART and IRL merged, the CART date corresponding with the Nashville IRL date is Elk Heart Lake, Wisconsin.
A long lasting tradition. IRL also jumped up the sanctioning fees.
Had testing revenue from NASCAR been in play, NSS may have been able to afford the fee increase and worked out another date.

As you can see, The NSS track has had dominoes falling in the wrong direction for some time now. It's sad in a way. The staff has poured soul, blood, sweat, and tears into the place. They are fine, hard working people. I am proud to be friends with many of them.
The doors closing for NASCAR events may be a harsh reality.
It may also be the smartest business move they can make.
Releasing NASCAR sanctioning allows them to open back up as a test facility and replenish the financial well.
This is good for the track as well as the local economy.

If NSS partners with the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway for the event weekends, they will most likely sell out.
Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway is a part of the heritage of motor sports and the track offers great door handle to door handle, side by side, fender rubbin' Racing.
The track is wide enough and fast enough to put on some of the best racing in the world.
A track demanding every bit of skill a driver and team can deliver. Champions and Hall of Famers are born on this track.
This kind of racing is exciting, brings in big crowds and much needed revenue for our city.
WIth proper planning, events can be held at the Fairgrounds with minimal negative impact on the neighbors while providing optimal revenue for all of Davidson County.

Please support the Fairgrounds by voting "FOR" ratification of the charter amendment.
A vote "FOR" the Fairgrounds is a vote "FOR" our traditions, our economy, our people.

By: boyer barner on 7/13/11 at 11:54

As Mr. Smiley says:

The stage is set for NASCAR to come back to Nashville.

With the new mufflers, noise is no issue for neighbors.

The economic benefits are huge (lots of people staying for the weekend and spending lots of money).

Major media exposure (ESPN, FOX, TNT, New York Times, etc. And yes, the NYT covers NASCAR)

Nissan, Volkswagen ready to jump into showcasing electric vehicle demonstrations and racing.

This is a no-brainer.

By: sowhat on 7/14/11 at 6:35

this is not a partisan issue and never has been until the attempt this week to make it one. partisan politics has nothing to do with the fairgrounds and any attempt to make it so is not going to benefit supporters of the fairgrounds of either party.

By: macjedi on 7/14/11 at 7:57

If (BIG if) NASCAR were to return to the property, WAY MORE than "safety upgrades" would be needed. Every building there looks like trash, feels like trash, and is trash. The lots are horrid, the landscaping - well there IS no landscaping. The list goes on.

Noise will always be an issue, but I have never cared about that. It is just like moving in next to a railroad. You knew what you were buying. (Or slum-lording as is so often the case over there, sadly...)

Bottom line, we have a lot of history in this city that is preserved WITHOUT wasting all the land around it and such. The ship sailed a LONG time ago on this. Tear it down, except for a strip of track, including those NOT HISTORIC stands and "meeting halls", put up a historic marker and place for photo opps, and MOVE ALONG.

If the original Opry stage can live on as an 8ft circle of hardwood, the "history" of that track can be preserved in a dozen similar ways and not hold back the property.

By: bfra on 7/14/11 at 8:21

macjedi - Nobody is holding back the property, except Karl & goons for their own personal gain! Who are you to say that the many 1000s of people, from 1000s of areas, that enjoy the events at the Fairgrounds, are not as important as your personal opinion?

By: BigPapa on 7/14/11 at 8:41

NASCAR will hold a race at that speed way the same weekend Opryland re-opens. You guys live in a dream world.

By: boyer barner on 7/14/11 at 9:10


I could have made the same argument about the 12th South District. I've lived here 25 years. Just ten years ago, you wouldn't walk through the neighborhood at nite, there were literally a dozen crack houses, many homes were in shambles. Sevier Park (which used to be a "dump" as you describe the fairgrounds) has been renovated. Music events are held their and it's a wonderful city park.

Today the 12th South District is one of the "hottest neighborhoods" in the city.

What happened is that people came in and invested, renovated homes, etc.

The same can and should be done for the fairgrounds and raceway.

By: ds on 7/14/11 at 10:47

Macjedi-thanks for being a responsible and insightful citizen.
The reason why 12th Ave. south district is nice is because crack houses and liquor stores went away. As long as there is a racetrack at the fairgrounds then nothing will ever change because nobody will invest in something in which they will not receive a return on their investment. Car racing at the fairgrounds, because of many logistical reasons will never be financially sustainable. On the other hand, if the racetrack goes away then my neighborhood (wedgewood-houston) can thrive and become another 12th ave. S.