A new plan for The Fairgrounds Nashville took a big step forward on Tuesday.
However, the two sides are split on what’s best for the site.
The Nashville Fair Board voted to move forward with the plans to build the Major League Soccer stadium at the fairgrounds.
“I am very concerned that this fairgrounds is going to be torn down and put in a tiny corner so that a soccer field can come in,” said one of the people who spoke at the Fair Board meeting.
“The flea market vendors are against it. Every promoter I know is against it,” said Shane Smiley, chairman of the Nashville Flea Market Vendors Association.
Several residents spoke during the public input portion of the meeting, voicing concerns for a place that’s been part of their lives for so long.
“It’s time the people are heard,” said one resident.
Shane said he doesn’t oppose Major League Soccer coming to Nashville. He just doesn’t want it at the Fairgrounds.
“I think they’re moving forward with their plans as MLS is telling them they need to move forward with their plans,” said Smiley. “They certainly aren’t taking the word of any vendors.”
The Metro Board of Fair Commissioners voted for a plan that calls for the demolition of facilities, except the race track, to clear the way for the MLS stadium.
“You just approved something and you don’t know what it is. That’s stupid,” said Duane Dominy, Save Our Fairgrounds. “If you buy a house, you want to know what size the house is going to be, where it’s going to be located. They just signed something without knowing the details.”
Fair Board Chairman Ned Horton said the plan would have buildings rebuilt on a separate part of the property.
“These facilities need to be re-envisioned,” said Horton. “It would allow us to bring more shows, allow our vendors to be more visible.”
The buildings currently hosting the flea market and other events would be rebuilt down the hill from the current location across Wedgewood Avenue.
The plan also includes possible places to shop and eat, in addition to housing.
The rezoning and demolishment still need Metro Council approval.
“You guys are supposed to be the Fair Board, quit trying to act like the soccer board and work for the fairgrounds,” said Smiley.
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