NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) –
The News4 I-Team is taking a close look at those contracts involving the new soccer stadium and development proposed for the Nashville Fairgrounds.
The owners of the proposed MLS soccer team have almost doubled the number of games they initially said will be played there — and it turns out, there’s no limit on the number of concerts and other events they can hold, including some that last until after midnight.
Fairgrounds neighbors in the Wedgewood-Houston area can expect even more development than they’ve already seen.
Thomas Reed is selling his house on Southgate Avenue.
"Big change in the neighborhood since I’ve been here," Reed said.
His neighbors have sold, or are selling; their smaller houses are being torn down and replaced with larger ones.
Reed said he’s seen a lot of changes at the Fairgrounds since he bought his home nearby 30 years ago.
"I believe they should have left it alone," Reed told News 4. “I like racing but I don’t care much for soccer."
But at the Smokin’ Thighs restaurant on Wedgewood Avenue, some of Nashville’s newer residents said they welcome the growth and change.
"It’s nice that more is coming in — more restaurants, more activity in general," said Jackie Staudacher, who came in for lunch with friends.
New draft contracts between the team owners, the Fair Board, Sports Authority and the city shed new light on just how busy the Fairgrounds could become.
The owners of the proposed 30,000-plus seat stadium plan on 35 days of soccer games, two days of NCAA football games, as well as an unlimited number of other events such as large-scale concerts, theatrical presentations, banquets, corporate events, community festivals, religious gatherings, and commercial and entertainment events.
According to the contract, the stadium owners will “use reasonable efforts not to schedule any Stadium Events to continue after midnight."
Loud music traveling through residential neighborhoods has been a point of contention at Ascend Amphitheater downtown.
Jon Cooper, Metro’s legal director, confirmed that there is no limit on the number of days per year the stadium’s owners can hold events.
"It’s to their benefit to use it as much as possible so that they can recoup the money to pay the debt," Cooper told News4.
The contract also doesn’t specifically protect fairgrounds events like the flea market if there are scheduling conflicts; stating, stadium owners have to make "commercially feasible, good faith efforts to accommodate" events the Fairgrounds wants to schedule.
Some Fairgrounds supporters said they feel they’re being edged out.
"It’s just going to take over the fairgrounds," Shane Smiley, a fairgrounds supporter, said.
Fair Board Chairman Ned Horton said the contract may need to be amended to state the number of days the stadium can hold events.
"Am I concerned? Yes, I’m concerned. Horton said, "but it’s also exciting."
The Fair Board has a week to review the ground-lease contract for the stadium before voting.
They have yet to see the contracts involving a controversial 10-acre private development planned for the Fairgrounds. Cooper told the Fair Board that contract is still being negotiated.
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