Curb asks Metro to spare historic fairgrounds racetrack

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 1:54pm

Music recording executive Mike Curb, an auto racing enthusiast and major financial donor to Belmont University and other institutes, hopes Metro and Mayor Karl Dean can find a way to keep the fairgrounds’ racetrack.

A press release sent Thursday by Save My Fairgrounds Inc. highlights a handful of racing legends and local education benefactors who support the preservation of the Nashville Speedway. The release includes usual names like Sterling Marlin and Darrell Waltrip, who have both been outspoken on their desire to save what they believe is an historic racetrack.

More interestingly, the announcement includes music entertainment giants Curb, owner of Curb Records, and Scott Borchetta, founder of Big Machine Records. Both are known for their charitable contributions to education. Curb has owned and sponsored cars driven by Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty and others, according to the release. 

“Scott Borchetta, head of the very successful Big Machine Records, and I met with Mayor Karl Dean regarding his education initiative, which Scott and I both agreed to strongly support,” Curb said in a written statement.

“At the end of the meeting, Scott and I spoke briefly to the Mayor about the fact the fairgrounds track is over 100 years old and the fact that it hosted some of the earliest historic auto races in the nation,” he continued. “Auto racing is a very popular sport in Nashville. It would be wonderful to keep the historic race track in Nashville and turn it into something that helps the local economy showing proper consideration to the neighborhood.”

Curb made news earlier this week when he penned a letter expressing his desire that Belmont re-hire Lisa Howe, the university’s former women’s soccer coach, who was let go from her position after she told players she was having a child with her same-sex partner. 

Taking a time out from immediate plans to redevelop the 117-acre fairgrounds, Dean halted plans last week to relocate the property’s expo center to a new facility at Hickory Hollow Mall in Antioch. 

But five council members sponsored a bill that, if approved, would allow the demolition of the fairgrounds’ racetrack to make way for a new 40-acre park. The ordinance, set for first reading on Dec. 21, would keep the expo center and Tennessee State Fair at the Nolensville Pike property for another year.


31 Comments on this post:

By: fair_minded on 12/9/10 at 1:56

It's good to see both of these gentlemen step forward and express their opinions on this matter.

Curb is probably the more familiar name to most people, but Mr.Borchetta's Big Machine Records is the label of Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Trisha Yearwood and others.

So they definitely run with the big money crowd, something that seems to impress our mayor more than anything. They also tend to disprove the impression fostered by the mayor and regurgitated by his supporters that fairgrounds preservationists and race fans are all beer swilling rednecks from the lowest socio-economic ranks.

It further underscores the need for *everyone* who supports the State Fair and the Fairgrounds to step forward and make your opinion known. The fight to save these institutions is not over, and there is yet a long way to go.

Please continue to send letters and emails to your council member (or start if you have not already done so) demanding that they vote and work for preservation of the State Fair and Fairgrounds, and let them know that any future votes in their favor depend on this.

And please plan to attend meetings of the Metro Council, beginning on December 21 at 6PM and let the council see that "the people" are watching them on this issue and that they are expected to vote for the people, not for the big money development interests. Let them all look out over a sea of supporters, the ground-swell of public opinion, and know that their political futures all depend on preserving this jewel-in-the-rough and restoring it to it's former glory.

By: Money4U on 12/9/10 at 2:09

Who is Mike Curb? A no body, that tries to shove people around. Curb, make your records and stop trying to bully others to get your way.. How dare you make threats just because you make more than most? .Share your opinion but, stop trying to make someone do or, not do something just because God blessed you with the gift to make money. He can take it away faster than, he gave the gift.

By: bfra on 12/9/10 at 2:20

Money4U - I don't see Curb making any threats or bullying! On the other hand, with Karl and his under the table dealings & brown nosing cohorts, comes within that category, completely.

By: gdiafante on 12/9/10 at 2:30

Since when is expressing an opinion bullying??

I disagree with Mike but what's the problem here, Money?

By: hottrodd on 12/9/10 at 2:58

voice of nashvie that karl dean refuses to hear,
i grew up going to the races at the fairgrounds, the flea market hunters custom car shows
itslways been a place where a family could go and enjoy without haveing to spend the whole pay check
i voted fo karl dean and it was a misstakkeon my prt that i will have to livbe with and correct
hes bound and determand to do away with the fairgroundstrack and all
he my have the perks and money to go see the titans fooball games, or other thngs in nashville that ha ben priced so highthat n average family cant afford it
he needs to g anndplay with his new convention enter ride is buses ad leav the fairgrounds and racetrack alone
theresbeen everal people such as daryl waltri , sterling marlin and others hat have tred to talk sence to our nonlistenig demecrotic mayor
the track is ver 100 years old it has history and the people that keep on moving into threa that the track is located and complang aboutthe track and the fair grounds wellthe place was there before you move n so its nt like you didnt no
i pray that nashville sticks togeather and let mr.dean how we feel about him and his politics

By: MAmom on 12/9/10 at 11:51

Of course the neighbors opinions matter, but so should the opinions of the racers. After all the race track has been there a long time. They are willing to compromise - to reduce noise by setting racing curfews, planting trees and other plants to absorb noise, building fences, and taking other soundproofing measures to reduce racing noise.
There are things you can do to help protect the Fairgrounds and the racetrack from "redevelopment":

1. Sign the petition at SAVEMYFAIRGROUNDS.COM. Get on their email list.

2. Let your Council representative know how you feel about "selling" the Fairgrounds

3. To keep track of Fairground status - watch Channel 4 or read the nashvillecitypaper - these have provided the most objective coverage to date. Also, the Tennessean is pro-redevelopment and seldom prints opposing, objective views.

4. There has been no accountability for bad Fairgrounds operations. Find out out why the Fairgrounds are not as profitable - who is responsible - and hold them accountable.

5. MAKE DEAN A 1-TERM MAYOR. Because if Dean is elected again, the Fairgrounds are doomed.

By: MAmom on 12/10/10 at 12:40

Thank you to Mr. Curb, Borchetta, Sterling Marlin, Darrell Waltrip and the others in the press release who have chosen to support the Fairgrounds racetrack.

By: anjnew on 12/10/10 at 8:37

Thank you Mr. Curb and Mr. Borcheeta, since it seems this is all based on money and who you know, thank you for stepping up and helping. This track is a hobby just like golf, baseball, etc., we need to keep it. Thise who live around it, well you knew it was there when you moved in. The race track is bending over backwards to help with the noise. This is a great place for family fun, at a low cost, we need to keep it.

By: walkabout on 12/10/10 at 8:49

I think Mr. Curb can afford to go see car races anywhere in the world. I, however, live 2 blocks from the fairgrounds and the noise during the summer months is so bad that I have to leave. I'm not able to enjoy my backyard in the evenings.. Plus, the noise is constant up to 10:00 pm. My whole afternoon and evenings are disturbed on the weekend. I wish people that do not live in this neighborhood would keep their opinions to their own neighborhood concers. My little 900 sqft house is not a mansion like what Mr. Curb may live in, but it's my little oasis.
Race enthusiasts...what to come in and buy a house and live here?

By: Community-carl-... on 12/10/10 at 8:50

Any politician who supports/condones Dean's plans for the fairgrounds and/or dismantling any part of it, including the Racetrack, will not be getting my vote during the next election.


Make Dean a One-Term mayor.

By: Community-carl-... on 12/10/10 at 8:54

Hey "walkabout" -

The racetrack was there decades before you were. Quit your whinning......if you don't like it, move.

By: bfra on 12/10/10 at 8:55

walkabout - What makes the few that live near the Fairgrounds think, they are the only ones that should be considered? Where was the racetrack when you moved there? Duh!

By: MAmom on 12/10/10 at 9:52

to walkabout:

Things to consider:
1. Racers have opinions and rights, too.
2. The race track has been for a long time - some type of racing event has been held there for over a hundred years.
3. All your neighbors do not hate the race track as you do. In fact many are race track supporters. I've met many of them while fighting for the Fairgrounds.
4. When you bought a house close to the Interstate and racetrack - didn't you realize there would be some noise from these?
5. You live in Nashville too - and do not like racing - so your opinions matter also.


The racers have offered to reduce noise:
1. by setting racing curfews,
2. planting trees and other plants to absorb noise,
3. building fences,
4. and using various soundproofing technology to reduce racing noise.

By: gdiafante on 12/10/10 at 12:24

This is hilarious...both sides saying only their side matters and screw the other guy...

Nuke the dump...

By: left on 12/10/10 at 1:20

walkabout,move back up north!

By: on 12/10/10 at 1:53

And take gdiafante with you.

By: Community-carl-... on 12/10/10 at 3:43

Nuke gdiafante.

By: pswindle on 12/10/10 at 7:27

Thank you Mr. Curb, for taking a stand for the people. We need the Fairgrounds in whole, and not in parts. When you start breaking it up, it will be gone. Dean knows what he wants and he will try anything to get what he wants.

By: MAmom on 12/10/10 at 9:24

We saw what kind of characters Dean and Riebeling are during the Hickory-Hollow Mall/CBL Lease deal. When their first bill failed - Dean said a "cooling off" period was needed.

Surprise! Now we now have more Less-than-Honest Behavior from Dean and his "redevelopment" cronies:
(1) ALMOST IMMEDIATELY his supporters submitted a bill to demolish the racetrack & give the other Fairgrounds users (the public and vendors) a 1-year reprieve. With no long term accomodation for these.

(2) AS WE DISCUSS THIS - behind the scenes Dean's people are trying to get money from a Pepsi charity website. On the website an organization called "Tennessee State Fair Association" says:

"NASHVILLE OFFICIALS DECIDED TO CEASE operations of the TN State Fair so they can REDEVELOP the property for a 'HIGHER AND BETTER USE." This 104 year old tradition is on the brink of EXTINCTION. We have created a non-profit to save the fair and are getting private funding to operate a fair in 2010."

AREN'T these assertions JUST a little PREMATURE since:
-the bill hasn't come up for first reading yet?
-the Council has not yet approved any bills about "redevelopment" yet? and
-the public meeting to discuss the two opposing bills is not scheduled to occur until January?

Someone working with the DEAN has assembled a pretty, innocent-looking website which DUPES PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT AWARE OF THE SITUATION into voting for their "cause" - by making innocents think they are helping a failed Fair. And if they get enough votes they win $250,000 from Pepsi - to "redevelop" the Fairgrounds - NOT TO SAVE THE FAIRGROUNDS.

A sneaky, unscrupulous, manipulative bunch. Research anything these "Redevelopment" people say.

The Highest and Best Use for the Fairgrounds is to let the people of Nashville and Middle Tennessee use it - AS WAS ORIGINALLY INTENDED.

Make Dean a 1-term mayor.

By: yucchhii on 12/11/10 at 1:45

I give credit to Scott Borchetta and Mike Curb for speaking out on behalf of the fairgrounds! However, I truly believe that Mayor Karl DINK is going to be exactly THAT...A DINK!!! He isn't concerned with what is RIGHT! He's MORE concerned with th almighty $$$$! If he ACTUALLY cared, then the NEW convention center would NOT be in construction now aftyer the vote by "WE THE PEOPLE" said "NO!" But he still went on with it ANYWAY!!! Well, We'll see! I'll still bet DINK is going to do what "HE" wants!!

By: Inglewoodlife on 12/11/10 at 3:48

To walkabout....
Mr Curb might can afford to go any where to watch racing but I can't so therefor I would rather go to the Fairgrounds and have been since I was 5 years old and now I am 45 so to make it simple for you I have been going there for 40 years and would like to continue going there. I have also been setting up my local business (I have a retail location) at the Flea Market so I have a vested interest in that also.

By: gohomenow on 12/12/10 at 4:22

If the neighbors of The Fairgrounds don't like the racetrack, seems they should have moved somewhere else - I'm sure it was there when they decided to move there.

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