State fairground future on hold for now

Friday, June 5, 2009 at 1:44am

A decision on what to do with the 117 acres of Metro-owned property best known for hosting the Tennessee State Fair won’t come until after September, according to the board’s chairman.

Mayor Karl Dean has referred to the State Fair property as an “opportunity” for infill development. Last year the fair board solicited ideas for what sort of development could be done on the site. A consultant’s report said the State Fair needed to be reinvented and suggested listening to developers’ ideas for the prime piece of property located off I-65 on Wedgewood Avenue.

While the fair board, which had its Metro Council budget hearing Thursday, has undertaken many of the consultant’s recommendations, the future of the property won’t be decided until later.

“Our focus and the staff’s focus is on putting on a great fair and putting on great flea markets,” board chairman James Weaver said. “It shouldn’t be surprising to not see any decisions made until after the fair [which begins Sept. 10].”

While the fair board can move the public discussion along, a decision on what should be done with the property belongs to Dean and would be subject to Metro Council approval.

The fair board overtook control of auto racing at the fairgrounds and said attendance is up, though exact figures aren’t in. State Fair Director Buck Dozier said staff is focusing on bringing more events to the fair during the week, along with bringing large corporate sponsors to the State Fair.


4 Comments on this post:

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/5/09 at 7:37

get rid of the auto racing, already!

By: justadude on 6/5/09 at 2:39

Put your May Town Center there!

By: TITAN1 on 6/5/09 at 3:49

Why get rid of auto racing?

By: iluvnashville on 6/7/09 at 4:51

justadude's comment actually makes a lot of sense. Why not do a land swap with the May Town folks so they can create an "urban development" at the current fairground site, close to downtown, the new proposed Convention center and urban infrastructure, instead of building "Metro Center II". You can then hold a real / green state fair at the may town site in North Nashville, giving a boost to that area without doing irreversible development and endangering that area's rural / agricultural and natural beauty and without having to build all kinds of roads and bridges to get to it. It could be a leading edge showcase for green technologies in the areas of agriculture and urban lifestyle. A real opportunity. I hope Mayor Dean and the Metro Council have the forethought for this type of real urban planning and Mr. Giarrantia is open to such negotiations.