Councilman wants Opryland-like theme park for fairgrounds - WKRN News 2

Councilman wants Opryland-like theme park for fairgrounds

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Metro Councilman wants the Board of Fair Commissioners to ask for proposals that could lay the ground work for a new theme park on part of the fairgrounds in Nashville.

District 14 Councilman Bruce Stanley plans to introduce the ordinance at Tuesday's Metro Council meeting.

The ordinance asks for proposals as part of master plan for the future development and operation of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

"Theme parks have continually succeeded in attracting tourists, generating large amounts of capital, and in being a positive source of work for the local population," the ordinance reads.

The ordinance continues, "The 117-acre fairgrounds site would be an ideal location for a theme park to supplement the entertainment environment of downtown Nashville and its designation as Music City USA."

Not all neighbors are convinced a theme park would be good for the area.

"From what I understand amusement parks are closing down all over the country," Clay Kottler said.  "I think if there was a market for it, one of the big amusement park people would have opened it up a long time ago."

According to the ordinance, the theme park would be styled after the now closed Opryland USA and Dollywood and centered on country music and NASCAR.

"Well we need a theme park," fairgrounds neighbor Betty Page said.  "We had one I don't know why in the world they got rid of it."

Page has lived in the area for more than 50 years.  She is opposed to racing at the fairgrounds but not a different type of entertainment venue.

"Get rid of the race track totally because all that over there is an eyesore," she said of the site just south of downtown.

Margie Bennett, also a resident of more than 50 years, thinks a park could draw more people to the area and hopefully more businesses.

"I think it would bring a lot of the visitors who come to Nashville," she said.

In August, voters agreed to a charter amendment about the fairgrounds which stated, "It shall be the duty of the Board of Fair Commissioners to continue to conduct all activities being conducted on the premises of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds as of December 31, 2010.  This shall include, but is not limited to, the Tennessee State Fair, Expo Center Events, Flea Markets, and Auto Racing.  The premises shall not be demolished without an amendment to the Metropolitan Charter or approval by ordinance receiving 27 votes of the Metropolitan Council."

"All activities being conducted on the premises of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds as of December 31, 2010, including, but not limited to, the Tennessee State Fair, Expo Center Events, Flea Markets, and Auto Racing, shall be allowed to occur without approval by ordinance receiving 27 votes by the Metropolitan Council or amendment to the Metropolitan Charter."

Councilman Stanley could not be reached for comment.

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