Nashville has secured a Major League Soccer team, the 24th team in MLS, but before the team can enter the pitch and kickoff their inaugural season, some specific planning needs to be done regarding the stadium. Metro Council will need to vote on those plans.
“As huge as everything was [Wednesday], we’ve still got a lot to do, and we just got to get to work,” councilman Colby Sledge, who represents the district where The Fairgrounds Nashville lies, said.
The Nashville MLS ownership group has been working closely with the city and The Fairgrounds on the stadium plan, and those with The Fairgrounds believe the MLS stadium could reinvigorate the area.
“I have a feeling that we’re going to see some soccer fans out at the racetrack and vice-versa,” Laura Schloesser, executive director at The Fairgrounds Nashville, said.
Schloesser said the effort has come a long way in the past year and added it’s exciting to see it all come together.
“It gave me goose bumps sitting in the room. I mean, it’s such a huge opportunity for the city, and you could tell just by the energy in the room, the fans were thrilled,” Schloesser explained of the announcement on Wednesday.
In addition to the $250 million stadium coming to The Fairgrounds, The Fairgrounds has also been given $40 million to complete renovations and rebuild where necessary.
“We have infrastructure problems, we’ve got utility issues and technology issues,” Schloesser said, adding that working with the city and Nashville MLS officials, as well as the people who currently work with The Fairgrounds, the area can have new life brought to it. “We’re not going to make any decisions without the voice of vendors and input of those important stakeholders.”
According to Sledge, the likely timeline would have construction beginning toward the end of 2018 with the stadium being complete about the time the season would start in 2020.