We’re getting more clarity in the Nashville S.C. soccer stadium standoff, thanks to Mayor John Cooper writing an op-ed in the Tennessean and giving interviews about his stance. And the upshot appears to be that the sticking point is really less the $50 million in public subsidies or preservation of the existing fairgrounds or whatnot, but rather whether a tiny plot of land will be available to NASCAR as an entrance plaza to the neighboring racetrack:
I’m hopeful that the 2.4 acres between the soccer stadium and the speedway (“Parcel 8c”) can be redesigned to create a public plaza worthy of the two great sports in neighboring 30,000-seat venues. A multi-functional plaza would address the operational needs of multiple fairgrounds uses, create open space on a campus home to Fair Park and Browns Creek Greenway, and shape a unified and beautiful fairgrounds for generations.
“You’re gonna have to have loading, you’re gonna have to have pickup, drop off, you’re gonna have to have ADA compliancy. Having that space between the two stadiums, it can’t be just for one or for the other, it has to function for both parties,” Mayor Cooper said.
I previously called this a strange hill to die on, and it’s really awfully strange, for both sides: Nashville SC owner John Ingram has likewise said the deal is off if Parcel 8C isn’t included. Maybe it’s all brinksmanship, maybe NASCAR is just feeling butthurt its needs are coming behind that of the demon soccer, maybe Parcel 8C secretly sits atop a hidden vein of gold ore, who knows? As I’ve noted many times before, Ingram is totally within his rights to hold up this project if he wants, and there are certainly plenty of worthy questions about it. But if the only outcome ends up being a debate over whether to create a 300-foot-square plot of concrete, that’s going to be awfully anticlimactic.