NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — One of the oldest American racetracks is in Nashville and a proposed deal would renovate the speedway for years of racing to come.
It’s a long-standing, highly divisive proposal and a focus of many mayoral candidates’ campaigns.
Tuesday afternoon, organizations on both sides of the debate are holding rallies ahead of a public meeting.
The organization ‘Save My Fairgrounds’ said the renovations will preserve history, promote racing, engage the community, and enhance economic development. Plus, allow for sound reduction and taxpayer relief.
“We’ve got to keep it all or else we sort of lose a piece of Nashville’s soul,” said Darden Copeland, a spokesperson for Save My Fairgrounds. “We’re paving over too much of Nashville these days and I don’t think we should pave over this track.”
Meanwhile, the group C.A.R.E., or Citizens Against Racetrack Expansion, said taxpayers are going to be responsible for any revenue shortfalls and the renovations allow the possibility for more races and more noise.
“I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 10 years, I live 1.1 miles from the racetrack, and I’ve always been able to hear racing every race day,” said John Spragens, president of C.A.R.E. “It’s not the nicest sound in the world, but I knew it when I moved to the neighborhood. NASCAR is a whole different level of noise and racing and it’s going to be really disruptive to the community.”
With a mayoral election happening next week, the speedway is a key campaign point.
“Almost all the mayoral candidates have said that they’re not interested in this deal right now,” said Spragens. “Not to say that they’re against racing, not to say that I’m against racing, but this is not the deal that we need to move forward with as a city.”
“We’re ready to win whether it’s this council with this mayor, or we’ll do it with the next mayor,” said Copeland, on the other hand.
Tuesday at 4 p.m., Save My Fairgrounds is hosting a rally at the speedway featuring the president of Bristol Motor Speedway. They said there will be tents, food, and racing legends will make an appearance.
At the same time, Stand Up Nashville, along with C.A.R.E., South Nashville Action People, Neighbors Opposing Track Expansion for Nashville, and The Equity Alliance will rally at Geodis Park.
Both groups said they plan to attend the special meeting at Geodis Park at 5 p.m. and take part in the public comment period.