In a motion filed on Friday, Nashville Metro attorneys sought to dismiss a lawsuit concerning a proposed Nashville MLS stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville.
Led by John Ingram, Nashville’s MLS expansion bid includes a proposal for a new stadium that would be constructed as part of a $275 million project. The Nashville Metro Council approved $225 million in bonding for the stadium last month, and the city’s bid was recently named an MLS expansion finalist–affirming its place among the leading pitches in a competitive field.
However, ahead of MLS’s decision, a lawsuit contends that the stadium and related changes to the area would interfere with existing functions at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Plaintiffs, including Save Our Fairgrounds, are claiming that the stadium will have a negative effect on protected fairgrounds purposes. On Friday, attorneys representing Nashville Metro filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that, among other issues, the plaintiffs lack the sufficient standing to proceed with the case. More from The Tennessean:
“Plaintiffs’ lawsuit voices their fears that additional uses that may occur at the fairgrounds will prevent the state fair from being held on the site,” Metro’s motion reads. “However, these fears are speculative at best. And, there is no indication that additional uses cannot co-exist.
“In addition, the plaintiffs have not met the mandatory jurisdictional prerequisites of showing standing, ripeness, and a private right of action. Nor do they state a claim for which relief can be granted. For all these reasons, the lawsuit should be dismissed.”
The city’s motion says Save Our Fairgrounds, led by Rick Williams, failed to present a distinct injury caused by the stadium plans, and does not have standing to bring the suit as a result. Save Our Fairgrounds is joined in the lawsuit by co-plaintiffs former Councilman Duane Dominy and former Metro fair board member Neil Chaffin, but Metro has argued these previous roles do not create a distinct injury either.
In their lawsuit filed against Metro last week, plaintiffs argued both the 27,500-seat, $275 million stadium project and separate plans for a new fairgrounds park would “negatively affect and violate” protected uses outlined in a fairgrounds referendum Nashville voters approved in 2011. These include the the state fair, flea markets, and auto racing. The plaintiffs pointed to the removal of permanent parking as way one in which each event would be hindered.
MLS recently named Nashville one of its four finalists for two expansion spots, with Cincinnati, Detroit, and Sacramento also in the running. Representatives from all four bids are expected to make presentations to MLS commissioner Don Garber and the league’s expansion committee on December 6 in New York.
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