Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nashville public to get say on convention hall financing

Metro Council to hold special hearing By Nate Rau • THE TENNESSEAN • December 2, 2009 Davidson County residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on Mayor Karl Dean's financing proposal for a new $585 million downtown convention center before Metro Council votes on the deal. Metro Council will hold a special public hearing 6:30-8 p.m. Jan. 11 at the historic Metro Courthouse. Councilman Charlie Tygard, chairman of the budget and finance committee, and Councilman Erik Cole, chairman of the convention, tourism and public entertainment committee, called for the public hearing before Tuesday's council meeting. The public hearing will be in addition to four council committee meetings already announced to take place over the next six weeks. Council members asked the administration to give them six weeks to consider the financing package and to have enough time to hold community meetings on the issue. Councilman Jim Gotto also asked to hold a public hearing on the convention center financing. "It's a significant event in the history of the city, so it makes good sense that we hear from the public," Cole said. "I presume we'll have proponents and opponents. It will be interesting to see if we have regular, everyday people who don't have their minds made up yet." Typically, public hearings are held only in conjunction with zoning bills. The Dean administration will unveil its financing plan on Thursday. Special meetings are planned for Dec. 9, Jan. 11 and Jan. 14 in advance of a probable vote at the Jan. 19 meeting.

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