Monday, April 30, 2012

Fairgounds; We Lost The Battle, But The War Goes On.!

We Lost The Battle, But The War Goes On.!

From Fairgrounds Heritage Preservation Group

Sure enough, the special interests prevailed in the state Senate, as they passed legislation to give the State Fair to a new State Commission.

While it means that our Fair Board has lost the authority over the State Fair, they still have authority over the Fairgrounds itself, and so the property remains under their control, as does the flea market, race track, and all other activities at the historic location. 

But the battle for the property will continue, and we're sure that there will be those who say that now that we do not control the State Fair here in Davidson County that we no longer need the Fairgrounds.

But that is not true. We still have the economic impact of the Fairgrounds events in our county. Since the start of outsourcing the State Fair, the Fair itself has only contributed about $100,000 annually to the Fair Board's funds, an amount that can easily be made up in other ways. And should the State lease the Fairgrounds for the State Fair, which they have said they will do, we will still have the income provided by that.

We have talked some with the new Fair Board chairman, Ned Horton, and he sounds as if he will be someone who will work to improve and expand the Fairgrounds, unlike previous boards. We can still make this the largest expo center in the region, and there are many events and activities that could be held there that are as yet untapped. And if they decide to take the Fair elsewhere, well, we can have a great Davidson County Fair on our Fairgrounds!

So for now we need to:
  • make sure that Metro Council allocates the requested funds for the Fairgrounds budget. This is the first time in 106 years that the Fairgrounds has asked assistance from Metro, and it's requested the modest amount of $250,000 to help kickstart a new revival at the Fairgrounds. This is peanuts compared to what Metro borrowed from the Fairgrounds to secure the Titans, and a drop in the bucket compared to the millions that they still pay out annually to both the Preds and Titians.
  • be on the lookout for, and be sure that any attempt to sell, transfer, or divest the county of the Fairgrounds is met by a solid wall of opposition. And the same for development of the property for "mixed use."
  • support the events at the Fairgrounds, whether it's the racetrack, fleamarket, or any of the many events held there. Keeping up attendance and economic impact is important!
  • if you are a member any organization who sponsors events that could fit into the Fairgrounds, urge them to hold their event on the property. And if you're not a member of one, but you know of any specific organizations to suggest, please bring them to our attention.
  • if you are a member of, or know of any organization who could help with projects at the Fairgrounds, please let us know that as well. We're talking about landscaping, painting, putting wiring underground, grading/removing asphalt-- anything that would help make the property more attractive.
  • should the State Fair decide to move, demand that a Davidson County Fair replace it!
Certainly this list will grow as time goes by.

Remember, this is "the people's convention center" and if we're going to retain and rebuild this historic facility it will take all of us working for the future. 

And finally, a tremendous "THANK YOU" to everyone who called, wrote, or came down to "the hill" trying to help stop this legislation. Especially Terri Baer, our "representative" on the hill for this effort. At one point the Senate was getting a call or email every three minutes in opposition to this legislation. It's not your fault that the elected representatives of the people caved in to special interests instead of listening to the ones who voted them into office. But I hope you will all remember this when it's time to vote again!

Together, we CAN make a difference.

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