Tension At Metro Council Meeting Over New Ballpark Legislation - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Tension At Metro Council Meeting Over New Ballpark Legislation

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by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Legislation dealing with funding and land acquisition for a new Nashville Sounds baseball stadium caused some heated moments at Tuesday's Metro Council meeting.

Typically, legislation on first reading does not come up for discussion, but the stadium bills were pulled so council members could talk about the bills.

"We are ready to make a home run," council member Erica Gilmore told her colleagues. "If you vote for this, you're voting for Nashville, you're voting for connectivity, you're voting for development."

The sales pitch has begun to convince council members to approve the $65 million in Metro funding needed to make the stadium a reality.

"All of the neighborhood associations, with the exception of one, has endorsed the Sulphur Dell project," said council member Jerry Maynard.

Mayor Karl Dean has said the approval process for the stadium must be completed by the end of this year in order to complete construction by opening day in 2015.

Council member Charlie Tygard had an issue with moving forward with such an expensive proposal during the holiday season.

"It's just simply too tight a schedule, at the wrong period of time, to be bringing this issue up right now, in my personal opinion," Tygard explained to his fellow council members.

He wanted to defer any votes on the stadium legislation for two meetings.

Council member Jerry Maynard then stood before council to make a plea to members not to delay the first vote. He implied council has passed legislation for other parts of the city, without issue, and council should not delay the bills that involve the Jefferson Street area.

"I just think we need to move forward on this," Maynard said.

"Come on," said council member Tony Tenpenny. 

"No you come on," Maynard retorted back.

"Listen, where do you get off saying something like that," Tenpenny asked Maynard.

"I have the microphone Councilmen Tenpenny, I can say whatever I want to," answered Maynard.

"I can't believe you would say that. That is terrible," Tenpenny said, as he banged on his desk.

"If you want to say something, push the button," Maynard quickly said.

"I got it pushed," Tenpenny replied.

After the heated debate ended, council member Ronnie Steine expressed why he does not like pulling bills for discussion on first reading.

"Because we end up with a debate that is far less informed then it is when we deal with it in the normal course of business, on second reading, in our committees," Steine said.

Tenpenny then explained why he spoke up while Maynard had the floor.

"I'm not saying I'm opposed to this legislation, but when I have one of my colleagues stand up and say some of the things he said, I got to say something about it and that's just what I did tonight," Tenpenny explained.

In the end, council members voted not to delay the first vote on the stadium legislation and approved the bills.

It will now go to several committees, where the stadium plan will be debated. It will then come up for second reading in early December where the entire council will be able to debate the proposal.

Email: ccannon@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5ChrisCannon
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