Task force to decide future of fairgrounds

Monday, March 1, 2010 at 10:56am

A mayoral task force will take the reins on the future of the state fairgrounds.

Mayor Karl Dean appointed a 10-person committee to be co-chaired by Metro Councilwoman Sandra Moore and Alexia Poe, the mayor’s Economic and Community Development director, to lead discussions on the next step for the long-time home of the Tennessee State Fair.

The task force will hold four community meetings during the spring to encourage community input for potential future uses of the site. The Nashville Civic Design Center will facilitate the series of the still-to-be-scheduled public meetings.

Poe said the focus of the discussion will be on finding the “best uses” for the land once Metro takes it over at the end of the year.

“I’m sure as part of these public meetings, the events at the fairgrounds will be part of the discussion. … [But] the focus is to talk about the best uses, the future uses,” she said.

Dean said as the state fair and other fairgrounds events — like the flea market — move to find new homes, it’s time to decide on the fairgrounds’ new purpose.

“I understand the value of the state fair, flea market and the many events that occur at the fairgrounds to Davidson County,” Dean said. “We are working to find solutions for them moving forward and are encouraged at the private interest they are generating. We now have an opportunity to focus on the future of this site. We want to create amenities for the surrounding neighborhood and maximize its potential as an economic generator for south Nashville and the entire county.”

In addition to Moore and Poe, the task force includes:

  • Jennifer Carlat, Metro Planning Department
  • Tom Harwell, NAIOP
  • Stephanie McCullough, Nashville Civic Design Center
  • Keith Moorman, South Nashville Action People
  • David Pritchard, Trimble Action Group
  • Mary Pruitt, District 58 State Representative
  • Charles Sueing, Tennessee State Fair Board
  • Patricia Smith, Vine Hill resident

Poe said the dates of the public meetings will be announced in the coming weeks.

15 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 3/1/10 at 10:38

So the fair is dead, every event has to move. It's a done deal. All that needs deciding is which deep-pocket special interest will get this property cheap? What am I bid?

By: airvols on 3/1/10 at 10:56

I believe this property should be developed, but I also believe we need a place for the flea market and the state fair. I'm not sold on having a race track down there, to noisy and we already have one in Wilson County. This property could be a great corporate park with direct access to I-65 and Nolensville road. The location would be a major selling feature to corporate headquarters moving to Nashville.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/1/10 at 11:42

i agree, airvols. is there going to be racing this year? i heard that somewhere.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/1/10 at 12:35

Kosh, my understanding is that the fair will move, not be dead.

By: racer84 on 3/1/10 at 3:40

So the mayor appoints a task force made up of members who have all publicly stated they are against keeping the property as it is today........And this is acceptable ?

20,000 signatures from Davidson county residents say they want it like it is....So why should they be overriden by 8 who will only follow orders from Dean ?

If those 20,000 voices aren't clear enough of what the PEOPLE want, then the mayor is proving he has other motives, and they don't represent what's best for anyone but the mayor and his friends. It's right there in black and white and if you can't see it you're blind.

By: concernedtaxpayer on 3/1/10 at 3:54


It seems like for a time I finally agree with you. Dean and his cronies do not care what the county residents have to say.

And if they really want to shut it down and do not care about Davidson County Residents, why not auction off the property to the highest bidder (whether it becomes HCA corporate center, a site with multiple racing garages, or even something as low as a landfill? However, the restrictions would need to be that every dime made off selling the property needs to be spent towards building a new fairgrounds facility. Davidson county could have a new nice fairgrounds with that money collected and the money collected no giving the old convention center property away but instead selling the building to the future medical mart. I would think that should be around $35-40 million.

By: JenT on 3/1/10 at 4:12

Racer: Actually, the last task force member listed, Patricia Smith, is a Vine Hill resident and is for keeping the racetrack.

By: racer84 on 3/1/10 at 4:21

The mayor when recently asked if a local racer had in fact offered a check to the mayor for the property ( and it was in the range you listed ) and the mayor stated no he hadn't.

What the mayor did not say, is that when told that these people have contacted his office to request to meet with the mayor to discuss...The mayor has REFUSED to meet with them. That's a little different, don't ya think.

Checkbooks are still open, and from checking accounts that hold those kinds of funds. Anyone who can afford to donate 50 million,(within davidson county at that) can afford this property...and they want it.

They would make it a Nashville showplace beyond comprehension and not all about racing......How many people have said they want OPRYLAND back....well that's what the mayor is letting slip away. Would it not be an ideal location for a park of that magnitude ?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/1/10 at 4:26

racer, that property isn't big enough to house an Opryland. and yes, Patricia Smith is on the task force also.

By: racer84 on 3/1/10 at 4:34

I've seen plans for what could be there, and I promise it could rival the attendance that Opryland held.

I heard Ms. Smith today and know where she stands. So any business owners who rely on the property on that board ?

Just making the point, the makeup of the board was chosen by the mayor to acheive whatever he wishes to acheive....and those placed on the board were hand selected by those with an agenda....that is anything but in the best interest of the majority.

Whose peers does this "jury" most resemble ?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/1/10 at 4:36

racer, you were the one who said you didn't want HCA there because of the traffic and the disruption caused by future construction......contradicting yourself, aren't you?

By: racer84 on 3/1/10 at 4:51

No Sir, I said the NEIGHBORS didn't want the traffic from HCA or the types of development that would likely replace the current events.

Apparently they don't care about traffic, so bring on the theme parks.

If David Pritchart has fundraisers for Sandra Moore at his residence, What purpose is it to have him on the board with her ?

By: JeffF on 3/1/10 at 5:03

It would be smart for the fair advocates to detach themselves from the racing folks. Racing is being used as a excuse to wedge ALL activities from the property. I would like to see people focus on saving the fair on that site and take away the mayor's office talking point.

A law that would require all funds generated from the property's reuse or sell be funneled back to the original fair activities would be a decent "poison pill" for the mayor's obvious plans at giving the site to business interests that are aligned with his regime. If a sell were in the plans, doubtless the proceeds would be funneled to the downtown tourism interests he has proven to be beholden to. Then the bloggers and Gail Kerrs of the world would be instructed to label the plan as "progressive" and destined to make Nashville a "word class city".

The mayor's fair grounds play has all the smells of Iran-Contra.

By: 117_acres on 3/1/10 at 7:42

Ladies and Gentlemen congratulate Racer84 he is the new some1else. Since some1esle mysteriously has fallen off of the radar Racer84 has stepped up to continue the racing fans and racers crazy rhetoric. I agree that if your are for keeping the fair and expo events stay far far far away from the racetrack issue. The race track is done whether the City shuts it down or a lawsuit is filed where the courts will put so many restrictions on the track that it will make it impossible to operate. There is nothing wrong with racing but this is not the best place to continue a weekly racing series in Davidson County.

By: Rat on 3/5/10 at 9:28

I am still going to fight for what I be leave in and that is saving the Tennessee State Fairgrounds from condos and strip malls... If you what Green Hills move there.... The question I would like to ask is have you looked at all the people you will hurt what about peoples Jobs, Homes, and lively Hoods you will destroy you all just can see that you just see your houses going up and $$$$... And that is not counting the $50 to $60 mil impact that that piece of property has on the city of Nashville... And one other thing it does not cost the Tax payers a Dime... and this Task Force is not going to do any good for the people that live over by the fairgrounds...