NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A large crowd attended a question and answer session Monday evening about the proposed Music City Center.
The $585 million convention center would sit just south of the Sommet Center in an area bordered by Demonbreun Street to the north, Korean Veterans Parkway to the south, 5th Avenue to the east and 8th Avenue to the west, and replace the current convention center on Broadway.
For months, supporters have argued the center is a great investment for the city of Nashville and a great way to create jobs.
"This is not about just building a building. This is about building our city and believing in the city and the in investment," said Ron Samuels, member of the Music City Center Coalition.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, the project's No. 1 supporter, has spent the past year trying to get this facility off the ground.
"Its two enormous shots in the arm to our No. 2 and No. 1 employers, tourism is No. 2 and No. 1 is healthcare," he said Monday, referencing a medical trade mart that would take over the space occupied by the current convention should the Music City Center receive approval.
Mayor Dean said the proposal will not only boost the economy, it will practically pay for itself.
"It will be paid for by the users, that's extremely important, so this is a win for our city and this is the right time to do it because it's going to create jobs and create opportunities," he said.
Councilwoman Emily Evans disagrees.
"The proposal before us includes a risk to the taxpayers and that's just unacceptable," she said. "If we finance a $600 million project plus the hotel which takes us to almost $1 billion, we're increasing our debt about 60%. That means we're not going to be able to borrow money for other things."
The Metro Council will vote on the proposed project next Tuesday, January 19.
There are two meetings scheduled Tuesday night about the proposed center, at the East Police Precinct at 6 p.m. and at West End Middle School at 7 p.m.