Friday, January 14, 2011


Happy New Year District 29 residences. Here is a response from Mayor Karl Dean regarding the proposal discussed in the newspaper earlier today. Gratefully, Vivian NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Mayor’s Office released this statement today in response to reports of a proposal to improve the current facilities at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds: The Mayor’s Office has not received any proposal for private investment to assist in improving the current facilities at the fairgrounds. However, based on the process that has taken place over the last several years, including multiple studies and extensive community input, Mayor Dean and the Fair Board have concluded that the current fairgrounds is not a viable long-term solution for the State Fair and ancillary events. The Fair Board first decided to study the future of the fairgrounds in 2007 after five years of State Fair losses and declining revenues in other sectors. Markin Consulting conducted an independent study that concluded a successful State Fair would require a new, larger location and a new governance model. Subsequent studies by the Urban Land Institute and the Fairgrounds Task Force also concluded that the current events at the fairgrounds are not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and are hampering its further growth and redevelopment. All three studies concluded that the highest and best use of the property would be a mixed-use / commercial development that would create jobs and grow our city’s overall tax base. The reports are available online at this link: Following the Markin Consulting recommendation to create a new governance model for the State Fair that would allow for true statewide involvement, the new Tennessee State Fair Association was formed. John Rose, chairman of the Tennessee State Fair Association’s board, has also said that a new location would be needed “to have one of the premier State Fair facilities, similar to Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.” The Tennessee State Fair Association’s full press release is available online at this link: Mayor Dean remains committed to seeing the State Fair, flea market and expo events take place at the current fairgrounds through 2011, while we continue to work on relocation plans for those events. Pending Council legislation would also keep the State Fair at the fairgrounds in 2011 and Expo Center operational at the fairgrounds until a new location can be found. It is clear that these events will continue if the redevelopment of the fairgrounds site moves forward. The only facility that will cease to operate is the racetrack, which has proven to be financially unsuccessful. This is not an issue unique to Nashville. Short tracks all over the country are closing due to similar circumstances. We recognize the long history of racing at the fairgrounds. However, when racing was first started in South Nashville, the surrounding area was much more rural. Nashville has grown, and the fairgrounds is now located in an urban neighborhood that is ripe for new economic development that will create jobs and grow our tax base. The neighbors have clearly stated that the racetrack is their No.1 concern about the property. If Nashville is going to continue to grow and prosper, the best interest of the entire city must come before the priorities of individual interest groups. Janel Lacy Press Secretary Office of the Mayor Direct (615) 862-6020 Cell (615) 438-3416 Fax (615) 862-6040

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