Bredesen's sad ‘bunker’ issue now political

Monday, December 17, 2007 at 4:42pm

Gov. Phil Bredesen hunkered down in his proverbial bunker today, saying he expects a planned underground ballroom at the governor’s mansion will still be built despite increasing partisan attacks and public scrutiny.

The controversy surrounds “Conservation Hall,” a 14,000-square foot underground facility scheduled for construction in the front yard of the Executive Residence on Curtiswood Lane. Its main feature will be a 3,000-square foot ballroom able to hold 160 guests.

The plan to build what critics call the “bunker” is part of a larger drive to renovate the Executive Residence. So far, $19.2 million ($12.8 million state dollars/$6.4 million private contributions) has been either spent or budgeted to renovate the mansion and construct Conservation Hall.

First Lady Andrea Conte spearheaded the Executive Residence project

Bredesen said Conte has discovered that “no good deed goes unpunished” and was not pleased the construction of Conservation Hall was beginning to become political.

“Somebody sees this as an opportunity to rub a little dirt on her, a little dirt on me,” Bredesen told reporters. “But in the end, I think people will be sensible about this.

It’s not for her own purposes. She’s trying to do the right thing here and to leave something for the state to be able to use effectively for a long time in the future.”

Construction is planned to begin next month. If completed on schedule, Conservation Hall would be finished in the spring of 2009.

Bredesen, who resides with Conte in their Forest Hills home, will be leaving office in Jan. 2010, roughly six months after Conservation Hall is completed.

A group, Tennesseans for Accountability in Government (TAG), has been formed to launch a public relations campaign against the construction of Conservation Hall.

Lee Beaman, a car dealership owner and a top Republican contributor, provided $30,000 to $40,000 in seed money to start the nonprofit organization.

Filed under: City News
By: Nashvillian2008 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

For bringing this project to light, the Bredesen's have called the neighbors "rude". Now, the Bredesen's claim the neighbors are "rubbing dirt".Well, come Dec. 20th, the neighbors and the City of Oak Hill are going to officially say "no" to the bunker. These folks are not going to say "no" to be "rude" or to "rub dirt". They're going to say "no" because they are going to try to uphold laws and ordinances that have been in place for 55 years. True, the Bredesen's can overpower any city rule. But, who will be the "rude" person if that happens?

By: Vandy1975 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"Bredesen said Conte has discovered that 'no good deed goes unpunished' and was not pleased the construction of Conservation Hall was beginning to become political. Somebody sees this as an opportunity to rub a little dirt on her, a little dirt on me,' Bredesen told reporters. Help! The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy is attacking me and The Little Lady! Too funny; this pair will fit right in with the Clintons."But in the end, I think people will be sensible about this."Or, "Lemme make you an offa you can't refuse."

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Sad? That's got to be the worst headlines I have ever read.Jay Leno, here we come.

By: crackcitytn on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I sure hope the residents of Oak Hill wins this battle. After all it's the tax payers money not Bredesens.I am disgusted with the Bredesens and their needless over spending of the people's money.Bredesen has over spent what's constitutional so why should he be allowed to spend more. Something wrong with that picture.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Bredesen is the best thing that has happened to this city and state.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Why can't they use other pre-existing facilities for such events? What the heck is an "underground" ballroom for anyway? Is there a nuclear event coming our way we don't yet know of? This is really sad.

By: caluttc on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Oh boy. Someone has challenged Phillie and Contie. No one has challenged Him since his last defeat for gov.. He has taken Nashville and TN for a spin. We accept him as "holy, all saying, all doing, all seeing".He was elected to Gov. because---" he can do computers, you know he built a business in his basement, he will solve TN care, he is smart".TN elected him Gov. and it appears he has solved TN care-----you know how ?? by a very complex and intellegent method----HE TOOK INELIGIBLE PEOPLE OFF THE PROGRAM. well DUH, isn't that profound and intelligent. Dear old Sunquist regardless of how one remembers him hinted at such and opposition came out of the woodwork.Phillie just keeps skipping through the city and State building monuments to himself. Can you imagine him touring Nashville some night with his Jackson Hole buddies---"this is the coliseum I built for these southerners---here's the downtown library really day home for the homeless, across the street from the park for the homeless, here is the underground "hangout shelter" I and Contie built for the over-privileged.note to opinion writer---tacky dear writer don't you know Phillie has saved the City and State

By: wgpugh on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Isn't it something like 4-5 times bigger than the Whitehouse's ballroom?? It's an underground vault to hide all the lobbyist's money!

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Phil Bredesen says that Andrea Conte has learned that no good deed goes unpunished. What is the good deed that Conte did?By the way, if the Bredesens are living in Forest Hills, then what the hell goes on w/ the mansion every day?Aren't we all still waiting for a justification for this ballroom-bunker?Is there really entertaining for which the Governor's Mansion is too small? If so, can't Bredesen just rent the Arena? He built it, after all. I'm sure that whoever owns it now would be happy to give him a deal.

By: skeptic1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Is a meteor heading our way? If it was just a bomb shelter, couldn't they get Homeland Security to pay for it? That's the way the state works. First, you find a federal agency, grant or program that will reimburse the state for whatever it spends. Then you take your budget to the legislature and say "Yes, it costs 20 million dollars, but the feds will reimburse us for 75 percent. We will get this beautiful bridge, bunker, stadium, whatever for only 5 million dollars.How can you pass up such a sale???" It is just like when your wife goes shopping and comes home with a $200 handbag and says "What a bargain! This purse usually cost $800." She could have saved more money...if she had just stayed home!!!