A longtime Metro Council member calls it “disrespectful” that the 40-member governing body has to work on such a short time period to decide on a $150 million development deal that would include a new baseball stadium for the Nashville Sounds.
Charlie Tygard, whose various terms in the Council add up to nearly 18-years, told News 2 on Tuesday that a six-week window during the holiday season to get the required three readings of the proposal doesn't give enough time to “vet the process, go out in the community to have informational meetings and get input from citizens.”
Tygard said those kind of things were done when Metro Council members approved funding for projects like the downtown Nashville arena and Titans stadium in the 1990s.
“In a sense, this condensed time frame is disrespectful to the Council,” said Tygard during an interview with News 2.
While he thinks there are enough votes for the measure to quickly pass, Tygard said there probably won't be a long look at the questions some Council members have raised about how the stadium adjacent to Bicentennial Mall in north Nashville will be funded.
Property taxes from the two private developments that are part of the overall project are projected to help fund payments on the revenues bonds that would build the stadium.
When the deal was announced last week by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, it was called a public-private investment that would help develop North Nashville.
Metro government's portion of the entire $150 million deal is $65 million, which would include land for the stadium and construction of the ballpark, along with two parking facilities.
The Embrey Development Corporation, which owns about half the proposed site, will build a $37 million residential development next to the stadium as part of the deal.
For its part of the agreement, the Nashville Sounds, the city's triple-A baseball team, has pledged it will build a mixed used development on the other side of the ballpark.
Councilman Tygard said a few of his fellow council members have questioned some of the numbers, especially when little else is know about the two developments that will help pay off the ballpark construction bonds.
“I think taxpayers are going to demand, if part of the [bond] revenue streams are the property taxes and increased taxes from the developments around the field, that they need to be started simultaneously with the ballpark,” he said.
Embrey Development has said it wants to start work on its residential project next to the stadium site in January.
The Sounds ownership has not detailed plans or pinpointed a construction start date for its mixed-used development.
In a presentation to the Metro Council members last week, finance director Rich Riebeling said the quick-turnaround time for Council approval was based on several factors.
One reason cited was that low interests rates could soon be going up.
Another factor was Embrey Development's desire to start its project in January.
A third factor was a January construction start on the stadium would make it ready for the 2015 minor league season.
In a letter to Council Members, Riebeling indicated the Dean administration would meet with Council members to answer any questions.