NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a step forward in the process of revitalizing the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. On Thursday, the Metro Field Board held a public hearing, to see how community members felt about the lease agreement between Metro and Bristol Motor Speedway.

“The people of NASCAR love our racetrack, because of the heritage, the history,” said one man. While a person on the opposing side mentioned concerns like needing “More data! We need more information. We need more people to come in and take this community seriously.”

Mixed emotions filled the room. The discussion comes after Bristol Motor Speedway announced the agreement with Mayor John Cooper last month, in order to remodel the long-time track.

“It’s not the time to take it away, it’s the time to make it better for everybody, including every taxpayer in the city of Nashville,” one person said. Many others agreed, stating, “I believe the race fans and non-race fans will enjoy the updated fairground speedway and it will bring a positive economic impact to Nashville.”

While others focused on community impact, as they argued that a new track would drive people away.

“Poor planning is becoming the reputation of Nashville right now. We are becoming the dumping ground for so many things and fast decisions. It’s a dumping ground and the planning department needs to shape up or ship out,” said one woman.

On Thursday, no decision was made. Instead, the Metro Fair Board simply listened. Many questioned specific details of the project, including the potential noise impact. Initial details show racing will be limited to 10 weekends a year, and come with sound features to minimize the impact.

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“You cannot thrive on a day when the racetracks are there, it’s legal for me to run my chainsaw all day, but how would they feel if I actually did that, it’s not very neighborly,” said one woman.

Another speed bump raised was parking, as some pointed to headaches created at the soccer stadium.

“Cars everywhere, hours-long traffic jams, parking in our yards, in our alleys it’s not acceptable,” said a resident.

The project comes with the promise that local taxpayers will not be responsible for the cost.

“The math takes the taxpayer burden from me and puts it on Bristol Motor Speedway which makes me very happy.”

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The board will have continued meetings into next year:

  • December 13: Regular Meeting
  • December 21: Work Session
  • January 5: Work Session
  • January 10: Public Hearing, held at the Metro Courthouse