Committees give convention center financing plan green light - WKRN News 2

Committees give convention center financing plan green light

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two Metro Council committees Thursday night gave the financing plan for the proposed Music City Center the green light.

The Budget and Finance, as well as Convention, Tourism and Public Entertainment Facilities committees, recommended the financing package to the full Metro Council, who will vote on the issue next Tuesday night, January 19.

Those recommendations, though, didn't come until after two hours of heated debate.

"It's going to pass.  Let's don't fool ourselves about this.  This train has left the station. It's got a full head of steam, because the haves in this city want this to happen," said Councilman Michael Craddock.

Once the city paid off the current convention center in 2007, it was still reaping the benefits of surplus tourism taxes and using that money to pay for other services in the city.

Much of the debate centered around what will happen if the proposed convention center is approved, because that extra money, about $14 million worth, will have go toward the new convention center.

"How will that be replaced, because that's now going to be used for the convention center?" asked Eric Crafton.  "So far, we don't have any response to that, it's just it'll be dealt with in the next budget."

"We have new growth and revenues this year that can meet it," Rich Riebeling, Metro's Finance Director, responded.  "We have a lot of different ways to do it.  I just don't have a magic bullet that you're looking for other than to tell you those answers will be dealt with during the budget."

Most council members at the meeting expressed their support of the new convention center, including Charlie Tygard.

"I truly believe that if we don't build this center, two, three, four, five, six years from now, our citizens will be worse off," Tygard said.

Because the financing package is a resolution, not an ordinance, it will only require one voting session to approve the project.

It will pass with a majority vote.

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