Fair Board commissioner calls for demolition to begin at Fairgrounds

Posted at 8:04 PM, Feb 04, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville SC officials said on Tuesday that they have nothing new to report in regards to the MLS stadium as conversations continue with Mayor Cooper.

Meanwhile, at least one member of the Fair Board is calling for demolition to begin regardless of the progress in negotiating the stadium.

Brand new facilities opened at the Fairgrounds last year, and for the past 5 months, the old facilities that have stood since the sixties have remained empty.

The original plan was to demolish the buildings to make way for the future home of Nashville SC, but that plan has been put on hold by the mayor.

Cooper's office cited funding and infrastructure issues for the initial delay, and the mayor is reportedly focusing on a single plot of land known as 8C.

8C is the nearly 2.5 acre parcel on top of the hill closest to the Speedway, and Mayor Cooper asked for that land to be left alone.

Nashville SC officials declined his request, saying that many elements of the already approved Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) would be built there. That includes affordable housing, a child care facility, an artisan incubator, and other community spaces.

While Metro Fair Board commissioner Caleb Hemmer said the negotiations are important conversation to have, he believes it shouldn't be a conversation that delays demolition, as these buildings no longer serve a purpose and will have to be demolished eventually anyway.

“They have no salvage value, they have no historic value, the utilities are turned off, they’re ready for demolition," Hemmer explained.

On Friday, Hemmer sent a letter to the mayor explaining his position and urging the mayor to begin demolition at the Fairgrounds, even if negoiations need to continue with Nashville SC.

Hemmer continued to say that he believes the MLS Stadium should be built to honor the city's commitment to Nashville SC and soccer fans, and to help the Fairgrounds thrive .

“This is an area that has had no capital investment of significance for the last 55 years, and so it really is an exciting time with our new expo facility, increased use, increased interest in the fairgrounds," Hemmer said. "We’re ready to turn the page and get things started.”

According to Fairgrounds officials, even if the mayor decides to start demolition, there will still be a delay, as the demolition contract has expired.

That means they'll have to shop for a new deal before demolition can begin.