With some crucial votes in the offing, 30 members of the Nashville Metro Council are calling for a Nashville MLS stadium community benefits agreement.
There is an ongoing push to finalize several measures relating to the MLS stadium, which is proposed for a site at The Faigrounds Nashville for an MLS expansion team. Several pieces of legislation will require Metro Council approval and, with mayor David Briley’s adminstration working to have those measures approved by September 4, the council’s actions will be watched closely in the coming weeks.
A letter signed by 30 members of the council has been sent to the MLS group. It called for the completion of a community benefits agreement with the MLS group, which is led by John Ingram, that includes assurances in areas such as living wages for stadium employees and affordable housing within the mixed-use development that will be constructed adjacent to the stadium. Colby Sledge, a councilman whose district includes the site of the project, wants the community benefits agreement wrapped up ahead of the council’s crucial votes. More from the Tennessean:
Organizers of the union-aligned Stand Up Nashville, which for weeks has been negotiating the agreement with Nashville’s MLS ownership group led by John Ingram, held a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s council meeting to rally support for the benefits agreement….
Councilman Colby Sledge, whose district includes the project, said he wants an agreement finalized before final approval of four pieces of legislation related to the $275 million project. Those votes are tentatively set for Sept. 4.
“A community benefits agreement is not unusual around the country,” said Sledge, pointing to Cincinnati, another city recently awarded an MLS team, which he said has approved such an agreement. “From cities from Milwaukee to L.A., all over the country they have signed community benefits agreements when it comes to new sports facilities.
“While this would be new to Tennessee and Nashville, it’s not new to the U.S. Quite frankly, it needs to set a new standard for the kinds of projects that we do.”
As part of the project, a new stadium would be constructed to house the MLS expansion club that was awarded to Nashville last December. In addition, 10 acres adjacent to the stadium would be converted by the ownership group into a mixed-use development that includes housing, retail, and other features.
Last November, the Metro Council approved $225 million in bonding for a new MLS stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville. That was a major accomplishment for the Nashville MLS expansion bid, and ultimately played a part in the league’s approval of Nashville’s pitch in December. However, the issuing of those bonds is contingent upon the completion of several stadium-related agreements that still need to be finalized. Briley’s administration has filed those four pieces of legislation with the council–including the lease for the development, the demolition of existing buildings on the stadium site along with the implementation of a $1.75 ticket tax, rezoning for the development, and $50 million in general obligation bonds for related expenses such as infrastructure improvements and new fairgrounds buildings.
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