Fair Board holds public hearing to discuss speedway renovation proposal


The Metro Fair Board hosted a public hearing on Thursday about the proposed renovations to the racetrack at the Nashville Fairgrounds.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 11:22 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Dozens of people attended Metro’s Board of Fair Commissioners meeting on Thursday night to discuss the Bristol Motor Speedway’s proposal to take over the Fairgrounds Speedway.

Those for the proposal and in opposition shared emotional pleas with the board members and the public on why they believe the proposal should move forward and reason why not.

“It just makes sense to fix that place and bring revenue into this town,” said one man during the public hearing in favor of the renovations.

“I hope you guys will listen to what Bristol has to say and make a difference by keeping our racetrack because if it wasn’t for that racetrack, you wouldn’t be doing everything else you’re doing right now,” said another man in favor of the renovations.

Some of those in attendance shared their reasons why they don’t want the board to accept the proposal.

“There are fellow Nashvillians who live here and work hear and want to thrive here and you cannot thrive where the racetrack is there,” said a resident who lives near the track.

“Don’t tell us what we should do in our neighborhood unless you want to put a track in yours,” another resident in the area said.

Neighbors who live by the park said it’s too loud and the bottom line is that this type of entertainment venue does not belong in a residential area.

Carelle Woerz is one of those neighbors who live in the Wedgewood-Houston community.

“The track today is unacceptably loud,” Woerz said.

She explained to the board her concerns with the noise level on race day.

“I can’t even have a conversation in my living room with my family and it’s really disrupting,” Woerz said.

But among the noise concerns, residents who are against the proposal said there’s a bigger issue of pollution.

“With the racing you have as it is brought up, each gallon burns about 120,000 pounds of CO2 for each race,” said another woman who is not in support of the proposal.

There were several people, including NASCAR for Nashville members, who said they want to see the 118-year-old track preserved and upgraded.

“They complain about the parking and the traffic with the soccer stadium. Our events will be one time a year, possibly two against 30-something for soccer. They’re not going to know the difference,” racing supporter Norm Partin said.

Partin said he grew up in the neighborhood, becoming a huge NASCAR fan and eventually a business supporter. He said the proposal would be a huge economic boost.

“It helps the city, taxpayers are off the hook, nothing ever works perfectly, but there are stop gaps all the way down, and the whole city and Middle Tennessee will benefit,” Partin said.