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.