Union Station hosts Music City Center forum - WKRN News 2

Union Station hosts Music City Center forum

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The proposed Music City Center took center stage Tuesday night during a town hall debate at Union Station Hotel.

"I think people in Nashville should get an understanding of all the details on both sides of the issue," WLAC radio host Steve Gill told News 2.

Plans for a new downtown convention center have been moving forward but in a tough economy and with a $585 million price tag, some wonder whether the time is right and ask how the city will pay for it.

Metro Councilwoman Emily Evans' concern is for taxpayers.

"It puts the taxpayers at risk," she told News 2.  "The proposal before us is one that requires the people of Davidson County to co-sign the loan."

Evans was among a mix of businessmen and city leaders who weighed the pros and cons of the proposed center Tuesday night.

Restaurant owner Randy Rayburn supports the project and believes it's needed for Nashville to remain competitive with other cities.

"Nashville has proven itself a premier destination and a product people want to come back time and time again because we are Music City USA," he said.  "It's time for us to move forward and grow our economic base because this is about jobs, jobs, jobs."

The project would take three years to complete and city leaders have said it will create thousands of construction jobs.

Mayor Karl Dean said last week it will be paid for through tourism tax, not Davidson County taxpayers.

For now, it looks like the city will hold off on building an attached hotel, and instead pursue a private hotel development.

The Metro Council is scheduled to vote on the mayor's funding proposal on January 19.

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