Council to discuss safety concerns for NASCAR at Fairgrounds

Posted at 9:04 PM, May 20, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As talk heats up about bringing NASCAR back to the Nashville Fairgrounds, one Metro Council Member has safety concerns about the possibility.

Steve Glover, who represents District 12, said it’s not the drivers, but the buildings that surround the racetrack that worry him.

He is sponsoring a bill that will come up at Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting that will require any building or parking lot be built at least 100 feet from the historic racetrack. Glover said under the current proposal, a mixed-use apartment building and parking lot would only be 20 feet from the entrance of the racetrack.

“If you look at the NFL, or any large sporting venue, they would never let you park that close,” said Glover. “I don’t see how anybody can argue over what is legitimately a safety issue.”

Last week, Speedway Motorsports presented a $60 million dollar renovation project that would include creating a 30,000 seat grandstand, pedestrian tunnels and sound barriers to pave the way for NASCAR to return to Nashville.

Glover said he supports NASCAR returning to Music City, but for it to work, thousands of fans need to be able to safely enter and exit the racetrack. He didn’t think his proposed bill would take away from existing plans to renovate the fairgrounds, but rather enhance the experience for fans.

“I would like to think we are all in the safety business of protecting our taxpayers and people who visit us in Nashville,” said Glover.

Not everyone is on board with the bill. Council Member Colby Sledge, whose district includes the fairgrounds said in a statement: “This bill is yet another attempt to undermine improvements at the Fairgrounds Nashville that were publicly discussed, vetted and passed by Council in an overwhelming vote. I want to have a productive conversation about the existing footprint of the Fairgrounds Speedway. This legislation does the opposite.”

Big changes are already underway at the fairgrounds to make way for a $275 million Major League Soccer stadium, and mixed use development. New expo buildings for the fair are expected to be finished by August.