Councilman Eric Crafton’s bill to preserve the Tennessee State Fair will likely be deferred again, this time to accommodate a series of public meetings scheduled to discuss the future of the 117-acre site.
The proposed ordinance, which will be heard on second reading by the Metro Council Tuesday night, would limit the future of the fairgrounds property to its current uses. In February, Crafton moved to defer the bill two months, a decision he said would give the council time to form a plan to save fairgrounds events like the Christmas Village and Nashville Lawn & Garden Show.
But since the deferral, Mayor Karl Dean created a new task force charged with leading public discussion on the future of the fairgrounds. Crafton told The City Paper on Monday he plans to defer the bill again and would only introduce it if the task force recommends closing the fairgrounds for good.
“I’m willing to give them a chance to use their task force and talk to people, but if it’s just going to be a rubber stamp to shut down the fairgrounds, then to me that’s not a reasonable solution,” Crafton said.
Dean’s task force will hold meetings on April 12, May 10, June 14 and July 12 at Wilson Hall, which is located on the fairgrounds site.
After the final meeting, Crafton said he should “have a feel for what they’re looking at doing,” and would know whether or not he plans to move forward with the legislation.
“This is a facility that provides $60 million worth of economic impact to this city, with no cost to the taxpayers,” Crafton said. “Somehow people have forgotten that fact.
With a little bit of work, it could be one of the premier venues we have.”