NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Preparations for demolition are underway at the Fairgrounds this week, after a deal was reached between Nashville SC officials and Mayor John Cooper last week to build the Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium there.
“There’s a lot of administrative stuff that needs to happen prior to say a front end loader coming on site," Laura Womack, executive director of the Fairgrounds Nashville, said.
While the deal was reached between the city and Nashville SC officials, Womack said things like contracts, permits, any abatements or inspections necessary, as well as work on the area's infrastructure must be done before demolition begins.
When it comes to infrastructure, Womack said while the old buildings are no longer in use, things like the water system that was built for the old facilities also service the Speedway.
“As you can imagine, a lot of that is intertwined, and so those systems need to be separated so that we can make the Speedway completely independent at this point," Womack explained.
Regardless of when the project kicks off (Womack expects demolition to begin in the next month), Fairgrounds officials and Nashville SC fans are excited about the progress and excited for what's to come at the Fairgrounds.
“I think it’s gonna be great for the soccer community, but more importantly, the community as a whole in Nashville just cause bringing the development to that area is going to be integral to the growth of the South Nashville area,” Matthew Bonadies, a Nashville SC fan said at one of the "Blue and Gold Rush" locations set up by Nashville SC.
The "Blue and Gold Rush" is where Nashville SC travels to different parts of the region to hand out yard signs, stickers, magnets, and more for free, as well as to sell merchandise, all to get the community excited and involved in Nashville SC.
Nashville SC has planned numerous stops prior to the home opener on February 29th.
Womack said beyond soccer, the approval of the stadium deal will provide a big boost to the Fairgrounds facility.
“What a blessing for this place to have hundreds of millions of dollars committed to improving the campus and really securing its future for the long term,” Womack said. “There’s a lot of hard work that needs to be done and it’s going to be very detail-oriented. It takes a village, it takes flexibility and patience, and it takes trust that we’re going to execute what we promised and that we keep all of our existing uses as a priority, and then welcoming our new partners in as well.”
Nashville SC is scheduled to play their first two seasons at Nissan Stadium, after which they're scheduled to play at their new stadium at the Fairgrounds Nashville in 2022.