August is off to a good start. Nashville SC got a point (they tied) first place FC Cincinnati Saturday 1-1. Off the pitch, last week saw the final push to build a soccer stadium at the Fairgrounds get off a to solid start. The Metro Planning commission voted 6-0 to approve the community plan amendment for the MLS stadium. Then voted 6-0 to approve the Specific Plan. Good news for building Nashville SC a stadium at the Fairgrounds. Have you driven by the Fairgrounds lately? Fair Park is coming along nicely. What a great new amenity for anyone in the neighborhood. Everyone in Music City Supporters knows those soccer fields will get used. There aren’t a lot of decent fields in Davidson County. Even less inside the 440 loop. So I spoke in favor of the project at last weeks meeting. Public speaking is a personal nightmare for me, but someone had to do it. I didn’t take up any notes and panicked and forget to mention many things. I posted the video of my 50 seconds at the end, but more importantly, this is what I wanted to say.
“Thank you, my name is Kenneth Hirt and I live in council member Angie Henderson’s district so I hope she sees this. I’m 45 and have lived in Nashville my entire life. When the stadium at the Fairgrounds was announced I decided to drive out there to help visualize the proposal. I hadn’t been to the Fairgrounds in years. I’ve gone to the flea market a couple of times and a race twice in my life. In my younger days I would hit up Santa’s Pub now and then. But basically, it is a place I never go. Driving around I was reminded why I hardly ever went there. There was fencing surrounding the biggest green space portion (that which is becoming Fair Park). It was such a waste in an area of the city that could use investment.
I drove by the Fairgrounds the day of the meeting as I’m sure many of you have done recently. Wow, what a difference! As opposed to fencing trying to keep people out, Fair Park will soon be a place you want to walk your dog or play soccer. Can’t you picture the entertainment center that section of the Fairgrounds will become. Just like the Nations, 12 South and East Nashville, Wedgewood Houston will grow with more residential and commercial development. That seems a great thing for all of Davidson County and Middle Tennessee. That said, I’ve always felt those that live in neighborhoods should decide how they develop. That’s why I think it is important that council member Sledge is for the project. It’s his district. He knows the people best and likely has heard and gathered the most information about it. He knows this is the right time and area for this project.
I’m also here representing a Music City Supporters, a family friendly Nashville Soccer Club Supporter’s Group. We have members with kids at West End Middle, Woodland Middle, Eakin, Julia Green, MLK, USN Hillwood and more. Our members play at all levels of club soccer as well thoughout Middle Tennessee. Coming together around soccer is different than tailgating for Titans or a big SEC game. Make no mistake. You are building a community at the Fairgrounds too. One that will be different that the Titans. Arthur Blank said the crossover of Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta Untied season tickets holders was less than 2.5%. Youth soccer will be one of many parts that connects to the stadium and club. We’re excited to help transform this part of the Music City. We urge you to vote yes.”
We are less than a month away from moving full steam ahead with the stadium. Let your council member know that you support the stadium. Let John Ingram build a community at the Fairgrounds that all our families can enjoy for decades to come. A place you drive to instead of by. Below are the key dates. The September 4 meeting is the biggest as it has the highest bar to cross needing 27 votes. It’s already on my calendar. The big question is who is going with me and where is the post vote celebration?
August 7 Metro Council 1st reading
August 21 Metro Council 2nd reading
September 4 Metro Council 3rd reading