Community members weigh in on Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway renovations

Both sides weigh in on whether the track should be renovated to allow NASCAR racing to return to Nashville.
Both sides weigh in on whether the track should be renovated to allow NASCAR racing to return to Nashville.
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 10:34 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway could see a major renovation to upgrade the old facility that’s been in the community for more than 100 years.

Tuesday afternoon two groups held rallies an hour before the public comment meeting inside Geodis Park.

The Support Our Fairgrounds group gathered on the track of the speedway under a white tent as several of the supporters sported red shirts eager to hear from racecar drivers and other racing enthusiasts.

Just a few yards away outside of Geodis Park, Stand-Up Nashville, a local non-profit to empower communities, held a walk-through to provide visuals of why community members oppose the project.

Around 5 p.m., both supporters and people against the renovation project filed inside of the Geodis Park room for the meeting. Renderings and information plastered around the room informing the group of how the renovation would work and look.

“This is the opportunity for the fairgrounds to become a major league facility. There’s nobody else in line. There’s nobody else who has the money, or the commitment, or the knows how to get this done,” said a supporter for the project.

Bristol Motor Speedway is leading the renovation project. They said the project will be funded by a series of grants through the state of Tennessee, revenue bonds issued by the Metro Sports Authority and any revenue made by the use of the facility.

But those who opposing the plan wore shirts and signs saying this is just a bad deal.

“It’s not about local racing, it’s a conversation about the lease agreement that continues to allow big businesses to bully taxpayers into a deal that will leave us in a financial and lifestyle nightmare,” said a commenter opposed to the project.

Bristol said the plan is to bring more jobs, parking and sound-reducing technology to the track.

Noise from the racetrack is a major concern for people who live nearby.

“We do not need a racetrack here in Davidson County. I’ve been here 15 years and I hear the noise,” said a woman in opposition to the project.

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch attended the Save My Fairgrounds event and supports the renovation of this speedway. He said the industry is seeing more variety outside of the standard tracks.

“With this being so close to downtown, it would be so much easier for people to get to and just have that different element of how you put on a show. Short-track racing is way different than your mile in a half or the super speedways, and we need more of those short tracks,” said Busch.

Stand-up Nashville organizers said they have done the research and conducted data from people in the neighborhood who said they have concerns regarding the noise level, close proximity to another major sporting venue, and its impact on small businesses.

“We can finally say we are a city that is truly diverse, and we are building it into the way that we live our lives, and we’re willing to throw all of that away, just going to throw it all away so a couple of rich men can bully us into making us use our tax dollars to pay for something that the majority of our city does not want,” said Odessa Kelly, with Stand-Up Nashville.

The speedway is on the Metro Council’s agenda for its next meeting scheduled for Aug. 1.