Metro Council approves financing plan for soccer stadium - WSMV News 4

Metro Council approves financing plan for soccer stadium

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Artist's rendering of the proposed stadium. (Source: MLS2Nashville) Artist's rendering of the proposed stadium. (Source: MLS2Nashville)

Metro Council voted Tuesday night to approve the financing plan for a proposed soccer stadium at the Nashville fairgrounds.

The proposed deal between the city and the Major League Soccer ownership group is for a $250 million stadium at the fairgrounds.

Mayor Megan Barry first backed the plan last month. Metro Council will issue $225 million in revenue bonds to build the stadium. The team and its owners will be responsible for paying back the money over time.

Nashville is one of several cities in the running for an MLS expansion team. The league has said each city must have a soccer-specific stadium plan in place to be seriously considered for a new franchise.

As part of the stadium plan, 10 acres of public land on the fairgrounds will be given to developers. A zoning ordinance will have to be approved to make that land available to the developers.

Critics say it has yet to be made clear what exactly the land will be used for. They say the land owned by citizens is worth $10 million and it’s being given away to support private investors.

“It’s just another way to take away from the people that it should be taken away from them,” said Tony Watson, a fairgrounds supporter. “We the people should have our voices be heard, and not with the government.”

“We welcome an MLS stadium, but why that property? Why that property that everyone already uses?” said Melissa Smithson with Save Our Fairgrounds.

Those in favor of the stadium say gifting the land will be beneficial to all Nashvillians in the end and will turn a neglected area into a more marketable one.

Those supporters are promising all events that currently take place in the fairgrounds will continue and the fairgrounds will get revenue from the stadium.

Soccer fans say they’re thrilled the plan is moving forward.

“We’ve really rallied around pro sports teams lately, so it’s awesome that we have an opportunity to get a new one here,” said Ben Brinton, a soccer fan.

“It’s a growing city. The demographics for MLS is typically 40 and under, and that seems to be the group that’s moving to Nashville the most,” said Jason Petty, a soccer fan.

Tuesday night’s vote does not make anything final, it simply secures financing for the stadium.

Mayor Megan Barry issued the following statement on Twitter after the vote:

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