Timeline set to decide fairgrounds future

Monday, March 15, 2010 at 9:59pm

Nashvillians will have four chances to chime in on the future of the fairgrounds.

Mayor Karl Dean’s task force on the future of the state fairgrounds property will hold public meetings at 6:30 p.m. April 12, May 10, June 14 and July 12, before presenting recommendations in August.

The meetings will follow a format utilized by the nonprofit Civic Design Center in which participants discuss their visions in small round-table groups facilitated by task force members.

According to CDC’s Gary Gaston, the first meeting will look at the big picture with subsequent meetings becoming more and more focused.

“Each public session gets a little more detailed,” he said at Monday’s organizational meeting of the task force.

“Every comment we hear, we’ll keep track … and that’s all put together in a report given to the committee and the mayor’s office,” he said.

David Pritchard, who leads the Trimble Action Group, a south Nashville neighborhood association, said it’s important to include the ideas and work that have already been done through the past few years.

“There are a lot of people who have worked on this for three years and they are burnt out. I’ve gotten a lot of calls, ‘What about the work we’ve done?’,” he said.

Gaston said for the project to be successful, it’s important ideas old and new are included.
Councilwoman Sandra Moore, whose district include the fairgrounds, encouraged Gaston and officials from the mayor’s office to make strides to include non-English speakers from the neighborhoods surrounding the fairgrounds, perhaps Metro’s most diverse area.

Moore reminded attendees Monday that nothing concrete will be decided during the meetings.

“Our main goal is public engagement. All we are doing is recommending,” she said. “We’re not telling nobody what to do.”

The meetings will be held at either Wilson Hall or the Fifty Forward building on the fairgrounds campus.

The Civic Design Center will have a Web site — www.civicdesigncenter.org/fairgrounds — online by the end of the week.


21 Comments on this post:

By: 117_acres on 3/15/10 at 8:21

I hope these meetings are for the residents of Nashville and not the people who live and pay property taxes in one of the nearby surrounding counties. It sounds like a good idea but I agree with Mr. Pritchard people on both sides are burnt out. Just bulldoze the racetrack and I will be happy! Racing is great but this is just not the best place to continue racing. www.highlandrim.com

By: CrimesDown on 3/15/10 at 9:42

Nashville has piss** away many good things in the past. I don't expect the historic racetrack to be any different. Instead of letting qualified people, run the track, they have run it into the ground always intending on turning the property over to "friends of the government." Dean will get his payoff when he leaves office. Let's just all give up and let this historic landmark be stolen from all of us for the benefit of a few.

By: dwight14 on 3/15/10 at 11:05

taking away this racetrack is as cruel as they can get...1000's of peoples live will be directly affected as will 1000's of others who will miss the historic value it represents...of course this means nothing to the heartless ones who only care about themselves...what about all of us who cant afford the expensive sports nashville has to offer?and what about the families lives you will be directly impacting by taking away their chance for a racing career and the possible careers of the poeple who work on these racecars? geez,you guys really dont know much at all about what your throwing down the drain for so many...it sickens me and 1000's of others...how embarressing....nashville will look so foolish to the rest of amrica for destroyingTHE most famous short track in the history of auto racing...take a small history lesson in the track and racing stock cars and you will see...guss we can always just drive by and say,well,this is where it used to be...

By: dwight14 on 3/15/10 at 11:17

sorry about the spelling in my last post...just a little upset...i would love to know something...has anyone really sat down and gave this any thought at all about what they would be doing by tearing down this racetrack?i dont believe anyone has or they couldnt do it...why not go out and tear down other landmarks? it really makes no sense to me..just got to vent about this because no one will be able to talk these boneheads out of it anyway...they just dont realize

By: govskeptic on 3/16/10 at 4:27

Does anyone think this process run by the "Civic Design Center" will start
as a plan to do whatever is right for the majority of Davidson Co. residence?
I personally doubt it, this is a cover yo as plan to take heat off the mayor.
Whatever the final plan, I certainly hope Metro improves the property for
public use and doesn't revert to selling it off. Those funds would then be
used for more insider deals or buying new "Grills" for someone teeth!

By: Kosh III on 3/16/10 at 6:10

of course they are going to sell it off for the lowest price possible, probably to a wealthy corporation which will demand expensive welfare benefits(incentives) such as tax reductions etc.
What the average citizen wants is of no concern to the city's plutocracy.

By: idgaf on 3/16/10 at 7:15

Sounds like he is on a timetable to give the property away. (like before he loses re-election)

By: BigPapa on 3/16/10 at 8:30

"historic landmark" WHAT??? That's like the worst angle to take if you are going to try and keep racing at that track. It's hardly historic and not worth saving.

By: TITAN1 on 3/16/10 at 8:49

BP, opinions vary.

By: airvols on 3/16/10 at 9:39

The track needs to go, wrong place, time has passed by the area when the track was on the edge of town. There are many other tracks in the area that can accomodate the race crowd. We need to figure out something on the flea market, the public loves that activity and it adds to the southern style of the city itself. The land should be developed and a corporate office site would be a great asset to the city. Road improvement and better access to the interstate would be required, but the tax benefit to the city would be great. It would also help in requriting corporate headquarters to the city.

By: 117_acres on 3/16/10 at 9:59

With all due respect to the racing fans and the racing history at the fairgrounds, but the track has had 53 years to be successful. It would be unreasonable to blame the nearby residents and Mayor Dean (who was not even in office yet when this discussion began) for the failures at the fairgrounds speedway. All these pleas are emotional pleas and not business related. The number 1 rule in making a business decision is that you do not let emotions get in the way. The racing community has known that the City was exploring alternative uses for the fairgrounds property for almost four (4) years now thus giving the racing community a opportunity to negotiate moving the track somewhere else or finding someone who would invest millions into the property. Regardless, racing in Nashville at this current location is probably gone but that doesn't mean a private entity couldn't find another location within Davidson County that works better for the City and the residents. Remember the Fairgrounds Speedway is on Government land not private land. I would assume that most Racetracks and the property they sit on are owed by private entities and not the government so if racing is going to continue in Nashville at a different location a private entity needs to step up and not the City.

idgaf: Who is going to run against Mayor Dean? Unless another name is on the ballot doesn't look like has much to worry about. We are 16 months away from the election and I haven't heard one name dropped that might run against Mayor Dean.

dwight14: The City understands the issues at the fairgrounds speedway.

By: Kosh III on 3/16/10 at 10:42

Better freeway access? It's about a mile from a nice interchange with I-440 and I-65. What more do you want?
I don't think the fairgrounds work there anymore. A level site with room for parking is better.
I do think the flea market and the other events are very important and need to be addressed. Why not leave them there and find other events to have as well.
Can't the speedway be converted to an outdoor concert venue? This IS Music City!

By: everloyal on 3/16/10 at 11:33

After reading the above comments, seems we have missed the whole point for having a Fairgrounds. In our particular case, the Fairgrounds exists for the sole purpose of conducting an annual State Fair. The Flea Market, Building Rentals, and the Race Track are secondary and moneys generated by these activities support the State Fair and the upkeep of the Fairgrounds. That being said, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Mayor et al have decided some time ago exactly what will become of the Fairgrounds. The only question is what developer will get this prime property. OBTW, the Mayor's Task Force public meetings are nothing more than cover for the Mayor's plan and feel good for certain segments of the public. Ah politics. Don't you just love it? I look forward to the next mayoral election and the departure of Mr. Dean from his present and hopefully, temporary office.

By: dwight14 on 3/16/10 at 12:33

117 acres...why is it that the fairgrounds brings in 60 million per yr to the economy without costing taxpayers one red cent,yet they want to get rid of it? business my rear end...and evidently no one has checked out the historic track too much..must be a bunch of haters or people ignorant to this...

also where are all these other race tracks? highland rim? you have to be kidding me..its nothing like the fairgrounds...montgomery alabama comes close...

By: dwight14 on 3/16/10 at 12:51

big papa..i dont know where the heck your coming from...yes it is very historic and very much worth saving...how you can say that is beyond normal thinking...there isnt enough room to even start with the history of this track and what it has brought to nashville over the yrs...it and country music ..what you want to do away with the grand ole opry next?

no you dont understand..id love to hear your take on the tracks history..name some of the drivers who went on to the cup series,some of the most famous drivers ever have raced here....how many times have you ever even been there?
why dont you look it up on the internet..i know you have the net or you couldnt be posting here lol..

By: TickedoffMetroT... on 3/16/10 at 1:39

Dwight, You will get no where trying to reason with those who have no other agenda but to mislead and hide the facts to accomplish what they believe will only help THEMSELVES and be damned with what the majority of the people want.

With over 50,000 residents publicly stating they wish the property to remain AS IT IS TODAY by signing petitions it is very clear what the MAJORITY of residents want for the property.

The fact that the shill media outlets and the mayors shill task force continue to refuse to acknowledge what the PEOPLE want is enough proof for me that there are lots of illegal activities and back room deals going on.

The Mayor, The Metro Council are supposed to be the voice of those people.

If you can look at this situation and come away with anything but the fact they are crooked then you are blind.....

By: teeceeum on 3/16/10 at 1:40

This all began when Bredesen was elected mayor. Before he took office Bredesen "requested" that all board members of city-owned/run facilities resign so that he could end the "old-boy-politics-as-usual" network of previous administrations. As I recall all of the boards did resign EXCEPT the Fair Board. Mr. Bredesen took umbrage with this blantant act of defiance of his newly won political power and set out to seek his revenge. The Fair Board and the Fairgrounds seemed to become his pet project and it didn't take too long before the State Fair began to suffer.

The Fair itself became a hostile place for vendors and participants. Most of the agriculture volunteers left and the concessions which were used as fund raisers for churches and other charitable organizations were shut down. Many of the organizations which participated used this opportunity to raise funds to support them for the remainder of the year. No more free tickets that were used by charitable groups were allowed to be distributed. Reported attendance at the Fair dropped to one-quarter of its previous levels. And sponsors no longer had a need to support an event with drastically sagging attendance and, therefore, a much, much smaller audience for their message.

At the time that Bredesen took office the Fairgrounds had millions of dollars ($6m to $9m) "in the bank". The Fair itself had almost always been a money loser even in the years when attendance was up. But the other events and contracts controlled by the Fair Board more than made for the State Fair's shortfall. The Fair was essentially the Board's annual "payback" to the community. It was an event that was affordable ($3 adult admission) to almost every family and provided family entertainment that wasn't available financially to many people.

So, in the beginning the motive for the ruination of the Tennessee State Fair was revenge. It seems to have evolved into something else that is a mystery to everyone except those on the inside. Could it be that Mr. Dean's motivation is some sort of payback for Gov. Bredesen's political support?

There is a mountain of information here that is being kept from the public.

By: airvols on 3/16/10 at 3:06

Kosh III, road improvements are necessary for high traffic volume in a corporate park. The current will not work for that. The access must be wider and better marked with a new interchange built. As for the building there they should go and relocate the flea market and exhibit space to a new location. We don't need to loose it, but that's the wrong place. If the May Town Center was being built in this area, it would have passed immediately and we would be well on the way to a better use of the property.

By: TickedoffMetroT... on 3/16/10 at 5:19

Airvols - So the most successful flea market in the entire state, and most of the southeast......Is in the wrong place ?

Brilliant observation....

But, How do you think it managed to not only survive but to PROSPER if the space is so bad.

I swear you people are amazing at overlooking the obvious and stating something foolish.

By: TickedoffMetroT... on 3/16/10 at 5:29

For what it's worth....The city of Nashville has already conceeded to the fact there are no other locations to move to within davidson county. The head of the Metro Nashville economic development is telling these people to take thier money and thier business and go out of Nashville......nice job.

By: dwight14 on 3/16/10 at 8:56

hey tickedoff,i know what your saying and agree..id love to be able to have a q&a with the powers that be..but they would never consent to that because of the illegal things that are going on..they r turning their back on what is the popular opinion on the fairgrounds and racetrack..heck,the petition about the track alone had thousand that stated they travel from lots of states and lots that do not border tn just to come see the races..they bring their families and friends and rent motel rooms and shop,eat buy suvvy's,in other words pump tons of out of state money into nashville based businesses..yeah put up some big corperations office buildings and we will get lots of enjoyment out of that...think they will get tax breaks? ya betcha..by the time those breaks are over and nashville starts seeing a windfall from em,lots of us wont be around to see it..if everything was treated like this,tn wouldnt have anything to gto to for family enjoyment..with all the locations to offer companies to locate here,the fairgrounds should be the last..i dont care for hockey..does that mean if im mayor i should start trying to oust them out so i can sell off the land to some big business? course not...but the fairgrounds have a smaller number representing it...easy to take your finger and just flick it away...no regard for those 1000's it affects,no sir...heartless,totally heartless and for no good cause when you put the grounds in one hand and the other in the other hand..now look at your hands..destroy peoples enjoyment and dreams and say to heck with them then look at the other...make ANY sense? not at all...hopefully at the midnight hr someone will see and get educated on the speedwayand see the history and how many it will hurt to tear it down..how many careers will get the door slammed on em..the potential for future superstars is greatest at this track,better than most other tracks in the nation..history bears that out...i grew up at the track with my parents...they drove 60 miles each way every,every sat night and some daytimes to watch the races...greta memories will be gone along with the only track to take your grandchildren to for weekly fun...

yeah tickedoff,no one in power gives a deyam for the people..there is other land for developing...why dont they leave this little piece of heaven alone...