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New year, new attempt to derail deal to revitalize Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway

The future of the downtown short track is still in a state of limbo

Syndication: The Tennessean
Nicole Hester / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

The latest effort to derail a possible deal between the city of Nashville and Speedway Motorsports that would restore Fairgrounds Speedway and bring back the NASCAR Cup Series to the venerable downtown short track has been filed.

It comes in the form of a proposal to rewrite the charter overseeing the fairgrounds property to remove ‘auto racing’ as one of its protected components and replacing it with ‘affordable housing.’ The proposal was written by former fair board commissioner Kenny Byrd and Neighbors Opposing Track Expansion founder Heidi Basgall.

The proposal reads as follows:

Pursuant to Sec. 19.03 (“Amendment by petition”) of the Charter of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, we, the undersigned registered voters of Nashville and Davidson County, hereby seek to initiate an amendment to the Charter by petition. Specifically, we week to amend Sec. 11.602(d) of the Charter relative to the functions and duties of the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners.

As required by Sec 19.03.(b), below is information to initiate amending Sec. 11.602.(d)

1. Title of the proposed amendment: Adding affordable housing, removing auto racing from list of required activities at the Nashville Fairgrounds.

2. Explanatory summary of the proposed amendment (not to exceed 200 words): The proposed amendment would revise the first sentence of Sec. 11.602.(d) to remove “Auto Racing” as an activity required to be conducted at the fairgrounds and replace it with the term “Affordable Housing.” Further, the proposed amendment would correct grammatical errors and remove the outdated reference to “December 31, 2010.”

3. Text of the proposed amendment: The proposed amendment would delete the first sentence of Sec 11. 602 (d) and replace it with the following sentence: “Conduct activities on the premises of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds including, but not limited to, the Tennessee State Fair, Expo Center Events, Flea Markets, and Affordable Housing.”

4. Statement of the financial impact of the proposed amendment: The proposed amendment would not have a financial impact on the Metro Government’s budget, as evidenced by the fact that housing in currently being developed at the fairgrounds, a m minimal or no cost to the Board of Fair Commissioners.

Proposal summary written to Metropolitan Clerk Austin Kyle

Effectively, the proposal is an attempt to bypass the referendum passed 2:1 by Nashville and Davidson County voters in 2011 that protected auto racing alongside a flea market and a state fair equivalent.

The topic could be addressed by the Nashville Metropolitan Council as early as February 20.

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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