State Sen. Douglas Henry hopes city government can keep the Tennessee State Fair in Davidson County.
In a letter sent last week to Metro Councilwoman Emily Evans, Henry said he hopes the fair “can be retained in the county where the Capitol is located, since our state’s motto is Agriculture and Commerce.”
Evans, who represents Belle Meade and West Meade on the council, endorsed the longtime state senator during his heated Democratic primary battle against attorney Jeff Yarbro this summer.
Henry also sent a copy of the letter to Mayor Karl Dean. Dean recently pulled back on plans to relocate the fairgrounds’ expo center and flea market to Antioch’s Hickory Hollow Mall, but he still seems intent on redeveloping the 117-acre fairgrounds.
A bill sponsored by nine council members, which Dean seems to support, would keep the state fair and expo center at the fairgrounds off Nolensville Pike for another year, but move forward with demolishing the property’s racetrack to build a public park.
“A state fair in some county other than the one where the Capitol is located would not, it seems to me, be in accord with the emphasis which our state motto places upon the fine occupation of agriculture,” Henry wrote.
A group of state agriculture and tourism leaders called the Tennessee State Fair Association had found difficulty locating new property inside Davidson County for a state fair in 2011, and told The City Paper the annual event may have to go to a peripheral county.
Presumably, the group has a better chance of finding a Davidson County state fair location for 2012.
The group is considering sites inside the county’s borders, including the former Clover Bottom Developmental Center off Lebanon Pike and Metro-owned land on County Hospital Road, as well as temporary options such as the Ellington Agricultural Center and Moss-Wright Park in Goodlettsville.
Evans, who has been critical of the mayor’s handling of the fairgrounds issue, forwarded the letter to her colleagues on the council.
“I will let the letter speak for itself as I encourage each of you to speak with the Senator about the future of the Tennessee State Fair,” Evans wrote.