NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tuesday night is the last chance for the public to weigh in on a $2 billion dome stadium deal in Nashville. Following the hearing, the Metro Council will move into a special meeting and vote on the deal for a third and final time.
After a nearly five-hour meeting last week, the Metro Council voted 25-11, moving the deal forward.
“This is certainly one of the most complicated deals that I’ve been involved with in my two terms,” said Metro Councilman Jeff Syracuse for the 15th District. “I understand some of the confusion in the community and whatnot, but we’ve been very intentional about the whole process. This has been a long time coming.”
They’ve debated dozen of amendments, passing one last week that sets an event ticketing fee at 3%, excluding events held by college and high school groups, the CMAs, ACMs, Grammys or WWE.
“Everything that you don’t like about stadium deals in the past, this cures because the team and tourism is paying for a dome,” said Nashville Mayor John Cooper. “People in Nashville, the taxpayers in Nashville, should say yes, thank you for giving us a $2.1 billion dome.”
Cooper said this is a transitional moment, setting Nashville up for future success and massive development on the east bank.
“The east bank plan is visionary and it’s our future and you can’t have an east bank plan unless you have a solution to the stadium,” said Cooper. “We’re already the most envied city in the country, I think, but with a yes vote here, with a plan for the next generation of progress, we will in fact be that: the most envied city in the country.”
Some councilmembers voting against the deal said they are concerned they haven’t heard how much a full east bank development will cost and worry the stadium will not give a return on investment.
“We’re about to approve a deal that will have $1.26 billion of government spending on a football stadium; that is massively more than any city or state has ever spent anywhere. For me to get happy with the deal, we just can’t have Tennessee and Nashville be a leader on the biggest public subsidy on professional sports ever,” said Bob Mendes, Metro councilmember at large.
They also said they’re concerned the Titans could add a betting facility to the stadium without council or public support.
Syracuse said he plans to vote “yes” in the final reading on Tuesday, April 25, adding that this deal restructures the cities debt in a more responsible way.
“Right now we only have one price tag, and that’s to fulfill the Titans stadium wishlist,” Odessa Kelly, executive director for Standup Nashville, said.
Kelly plans to come in solidarity Tuesday night with other Nashvillians who are against the deal.
“The infrastructure has not kept up with the growth of this city. people are cost burden to live here in Nashville,” Kelly said.
“I think one of the biggest criticism of Nashville that we get from residents here is this rapid growth of development that we can’t control but here we are with a big piece of riverfront property where we can control the growth and include housing and transit,” Syracuse said.
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A public hearing will be held at the start of Tuesday night’s meeting. Participants can begin lining up outside of the Metro Council chambers at 5:30 p.m.
Up to four hours can be used for public comment: two hours for voices of support and two hours for voices of opposition. Each speaker can use up to two minutes of time.
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Courthouse.
Twenty-one “yes” votes are required for the vote to pass.