Nashville residents meet to discuss future of the Fairgrounds

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Plans to build a soccer stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds have a group of residents concerned that the things they like there would end.

At a public meeting with the Board of Fair Commissioners, nearly 200 people voiced their concerns, support and asked questions.

People dressed in red to show that they’re against the Mayor’s proposal to build a soccer stadium at the fairgrounds.

“Where is another option for this MLS stadium to be placed at?” Asked Melissa Smithson, who opposes the proposal. “I don’t see this project helping the fairgrounds have a state fair and I’m afraid we’re gonna lose it.”

Nashville is one of four cities competing for its own Major League Soccer (MLS) team.

Metro’s $225 million proposal is an effort to win Nashville its own team, which is supposed to bring in big dollars for the city.

According to city officials, the plans for the fairgrounds would include a soccer stadium but also a public park, some retail space maybe even apartments while, they say, the racetrack, flea market and fair would all stay.

“This is a unique proposal. It adds a lot of things while keeping everything that’s happening currently at the fairgrounds,” said council member Colby Sledge. The Fairgrounds are in his district. “It is asking something of folks who are used to the current usage but it’s also asking something from folks who may have wanted to see the uses change.”

Sledge says he plans on reaching out to any constituents who have questions or concerns.

Like one man who was concerned about the prices of soccer tickets.

“Down here this is kind of a working man’s place to go. We have $10 races, flea market is free to get into and this is kind of high for what we got.”

Yet, there were supporters in the crowd including people who like the idea of a public park at the Fairgrounds that would also connect to the greenway.

“I think the goal of connecting all our urban neighborhoods to our greenway system and our parks system and trying to get the greenways within a half mile of every urban neighborhood is extremely important,” Mark Deutchman told the Board.

Again, this is just a proposal. Nashville will have to first win the bid.

A decision will be made by MLS in December.