Nashville attorney Jim Roberts, who represents Save Our Fairgrounds, said he will probably file an injunction early next week to force the Metro Nashville government to have a public referendum on the fate of the fairgrounds.
Roberts said Metro Charter requires it because “the people have a right to vote in this scheme before losing their 100 plus year-old Fairgrounds.”
But what happens if there is a referendum, and the voters say do away with the fairgrounds anyway?
“There is always a risk to that. I am the first to admit it. When it’s not couched in ‘We want MLS soccer,’ but it really counts from the loss of public spaces and a giveaway to billionaires, I don’t think there will be the support for it. Think about the reality once the MLS starts playing in the Nissan Stadium, which was designed with an MLS franchise in mind. They sold us that stadium saying they would get an MLS franchise to play there,” Roberts told The Tennessee Star Friday.
“That is a commitment no one wants to seem to talk about when they talk about commitments, but that was a commitment they made to me. Spend $300 million on a football stadium. Maybe the people will rise up and say no to the fairgrounds. They are an eyesore. But we know that 10 years ago that 72 percent of the people voted to save the fairgrounds, and I don’t think you’ll convince 50 percent of the people to turn a billionaire into a trillionaire. That is what that property will be worth.”
Roberts went on to accuse the people behind the Major League Soccer initiative of misleading and misdirecting people.
“The question is not can we build a stadium? The question is is the stadium compatible with a state fair? And the answer is no. It doesn’t matter if it’s for amusement purposes or whether it is good for Nashville. The question is is it compatible with that? And anything the city does that contradicts state law and the charter is illegal. They do not care, but it is illegal. They know it’s illegal, but they just do not care. We think we will win,” Roberts said.
“We’ll probably get our injunction filed next week. I don’t know if we’ll be able to stop the demolition of the old buildings for some complicated reasons. That may or may not be stoppable, but I do think we can stop any sort of redevelopment until there is a public referendum. I think the court will uphold the law.”
As The Nashville Post reported, Nashville Soccer Club and Democratic Mayor John Cooper agreed to immediately start demolition work at the Fairgrounds to build a 30,000-seat soccer stadium.
“Talks over the stadium intensified over the last few weeks, with Nashville SC owner John Ingram taking his case to the public with a #BuildTheStadium campaign and sending a series of public letters to Cooper insisting that the project go forward. In several months of negotiations, Ingram’s group has agreed to shoulder an increasing amount of cost, including paying an additional $19 million for infrastructure costs and foregoing promised ticket tax revenues from the original deal. With those concessions — which were formally announced Thursday morning — the stadium will be 100 percent privately financed,” the website reported.
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