Wedgewood-Houston group doesn’t want NASCAR coming to their neighborhood

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NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) — Living near the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway comes with an understanding, there is going to be some noise.

But an agreement between Mayor John Cooper and the Bristol Motor Speedway could make things a lot louder for nearby residents.

Last month, Nashville Mayor John Cooper signed a non-binding letter of intent with Bristol Motor Speedway that would, if approved by Metro Council and the Fair Board, bring NASCAR back to Music City.

The proposal comes with a 30,000-seat expansion to the current track, noise mitigation efforts, and pedestrian tunnels.

According to that letter of intent, the city would issue no more than $50 million in bonds for renovations, but BMS would pay Metro an annual lease payment for track managements and operations and share a percentage of revenues from events.

Additionally, four weeks a year, BMS would lease all Fairgrounds property (except for the MLS stadium and commercial developments) for $1 million annually to host major racing events.

Heidi Basgall-Favorite lives right up the street from the speedway. Concerned about the noise, traffic, and details of the agreement, she started a grassroots campaign called ‘NOTE,’ which stands for Neighbors Opposing Track Expansion.

The group currently has about 200 members from the Wedgewood-Houston area all opposed to NASCAR level races, including Tanner Martin.

“NASCAR is not local racing. Again, want to reiterate we’re not trying to get rid of local racing and we’re not trying to get rid of the racetrack. But NASCAR is a step well above what local racing is right now,” Martin said.

The letter of intent does say noise mitigation would be an integral part of the redesign. Mayor Cooper says “modern day stadium improvements” will lower the noise level and that the project will be a moneymaker for Nashville.

“We’re going to use the money that we make from NASCAR to reinvest in the community in greenways and parks. We’re making money on this deal on NASCAR and we’re going to use the money to create a better community,” Mayor Cooper said.

NOTE members are also pushing for limits on the number of races and a curfew for the speedway.

Favorite wants to make sure Mayor Cooper isn’t sweeping residential input under the rug.

“You ran on a campaign for neighbors. You said that you would be against billionaire corporations. That you wouldn’t give handouts. And you are doing exactly that! You are ignoring neighbors. I don’t believe that you meant to operate and run a campaign on false promises. But right now, that’s what it’s feeling like,” Favorite said.

On the flip side, News 2 has talked to local businesses near the speedway who are thrilled NASCAR could be coming back. More people in the area means more revenue.

Before any renovations can begin, this proposal must be approved by Metro City Council and the Board of Fair Commissioners. That vote could take place as soon as July.

The Fair Board is planning to hold a public forum next month where speedway experts can answer neighbors’ questions. You can listen to their Tuesday night meeting (April 13) below.

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