The Fairgrounds Nashville could become the lead contender for an MLS stadium site, as Nashville Metro mayor Megan Barry is slate to make her case for the location.
With the deadline for expansion applications due at the end of this month, Nashville is one of several cities that is trying to pin down some crucial details. For John Ingram and the city’s MLS Steering Committee, one of the biggest questions has been where a stadium would be built. The Fairgrounds have been mentioned in the past, and it now seems that the location is one of the city’s lead contenders.
Barry is expected to present more details on the proposal early next week, but the site has some distinct advantages, including plenty of land and room for redevelopment. More from The Tennessean:
Barry’s preliminary plan, first reported by The Tennessean on Thursday citing sources briefed on the proposal, includes long-needed upgrades to the fairgrounds speedway, while leaving existing facilities at the 117-acre, Metro-owned site south of downtown. It would accelerate a makeover for the fairgrounds, where new recreational soccer fields and green space also are slated.
Barry will formally unveil what she calls a site recommendation Monday at the Rotary Club of Nashville’s luncheon at the Wildhorse Saloon.
A local MLS ownership group known as the Nashville MLS Steering Committee, led by businessmen John Ingram and Bill Hagerty, is working to meet a Jan. 31 deadline to bid for one of four available MLS expansion teams. Ten cities, including Nashville, are being considered by the league.
In a statement prompted by The Tennessean’s report Thursday, Barry said that “while no formal proposals or deals have been reached,” her office has been working with the ownership group to submit a bid and she fully supports the effort to bring MLS to Nashville.
For right now, there are still a few details that are unknown, including the cost and funding model for the stadium as well as what role, if any, prospective partner Vanderbilt University will play in the effort.
Photo of 2013 MLS All-Star Game by Brett Flanders via flickr.com.
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