Tenn. State Fairgrounds to cease operations in June - WKRN News 2

Tenn. State Fairgrounds to cease operations in June

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In nine months, the Tennessee State Fairgrounds off Nolensville Pike in south Nashville will have to shut down by order of the mayor's office.

The fair board announced Tuesday night that operations will cease on June 30, 2010, and then the Metro finance department will take control of the property.

"Everybody believes it should be something else," said Fair Board Chair James Weaver.  "It's not our call as a fair board to decide what that something else is, because we don't own the property."

Weaver said the property belongs to the city, so it's up to the city to decide what will become of the land once the fairgrounds shut down.

Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling talked to News 2 about the fate of the fair Wednesday.

"The truth is there are regional fairs around us that are bigger than this fair so it's not like the public is going to have to do without a fair in this community," Riebeling said. "It's not like we are getting out of the fair business in this region.  It is just the city of Nashville cannot support the operation of the state fair."

Riebeling said Nashville resident can still enjoy other fairs in Middle Tennessee, such as the Wilson County or Williamson County fairs.

He said the flea market, a well-known money maker for the property, will also go away.

"The people who might want to use the place, they might want to start looking for other facilities.  I mean that is the message we are sending to them," he said.

The Music City Motorplex will also be affected by the shutdown next year.

It will put the brakes on races halfway through this season.

That's heartbreaking news to race car driver Southerlin Marlin, daughter of NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin.

Southerlin Marlin told News 2, "I mean, people are dependant on this track.  We love this track. This track has so much history behind it.  There's just been so much put into this, and for it just to be closed down, it's not right."

Riebeling said the future of the racetrack was "decided several years ago when Dover Downs built the track in Wilson County."

He adds other small tracks around the country are struggling as much as the one at the fairgrounds and he doesn't think there will be another one in Davidson County.

Riebeling said nothing can be done to change the fate of the fairgrounds.

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