For at least a decade, Nashville has been talking about what to do with its fairground speedway. Last month, Nashville’s mayor and Bristol Motor Speedway presented their proposal to restore the track. This month fans and opponents lined up to weigh in on a chance to restore the property.
In a 2011 referendum, Nashville residents voted to keep operating and maintaining the racetrack. After decades of delayed maintenance, Mayor John Cooper now has an idea that will get taxpayers off the hook for the bill.
Longtime speed racing fans like Jesse Yeager are clinching to the track’s 118-year history and the promise to keep it open.
“At a time when our city is growing and eliminating so many historical places there’s a unique opportunity here to not only restore,” she says. “But preserve such an important piece of our city’s history and culture.”
But residents like Chris Highsmith are concerned about noise, lack of infrastructure for cars and the financial risks.
“I don’t actually, personally, oppose the track,” he says. “But it needs to be responsibly developed. It needs to be developed in a way that doesn’t impact the neighborhood around.”
Cooper attempted to address some of these concerns by saying there will only be 10 motorsports event weekends, practice days will be reduced from 25 to 20 per year and Metro is guaranteeing a 50% noise reduction.
In the new year, the Fair Commissioners Board will dig into Cooper’s proposal and hold another public hearing.