As expected, a Metro councilman has scrapped his long-shot legislative effort to call for the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners to explore adding a new theme park at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.
At the request of bill sponsor Councilman Bruce Stanley, the council voted Tuesday to withdraw his proposal to require the fair board to solicit bids for the partial development of a theme park at the Metro-owned 117-acre fairgrounds. The bill had arrived before the council on the second of three votes Tuesday night, but its deferral has effectively taken the ordinance off the table.
In making his motion, Stanley referenced the forthcoming fairgrounds master plan, which the council has already asked make recommendations for uses at the site. Earlier this month, the city started from scratch in its search for firms to oversee the creation of the plan.
Despite the bill’s withdrawal, Stanley didn’t back away from his belief that the fairgrounds property would be better suited to accommodate some sort of theme park to replace Opyland, which closed in 1997.
“I think it’s important for everyone on this council to understand what I and the entire city of Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County have gone through with this stagnant piece of public property,” Stanley said.
“When Gaylord closed Opryland theme park, the city lost millions of dollars in tourist revenue each year,” he said. “With that, it created a huge void in Nashville’s economy.”
Most observers believed Stanley’s legislation –– the first filed in the newly elected council –– had no chance of actually passing, but that didn’t stop several local media outlets from giving the bill plenty of attention in recent days through various reports.
His bill now abandoned, Stanley said he instead plans on filing a non-binding resolution –– which carries no direct policy effect –– requesting the fair board solicit proposals for a theme park to locate at the fairgrounds.
If such a resolution passed, the fair board would not be required to oblige the council’s vote.
• In other items, the council elected Councilwoman Erica Gilmore as council president pro tempore narrowly over Councilwoman Karen Bennett. The vote went 18-17. Gilmore replaces Councilman Sean McGuire in the seat.
Under the position, Gilmore is tasked with delivering council announcement 30 minutes prior to meetings. In addition, she will preside over the full council at meetings Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors is unable to attend.