I didn’t even get a chance to post about yesterday’s proposal by Nashville councilmember Steve Glover to rescind the city’s approval of $75 million in funds for a new MLS stadium before it was immediately voted down by the full council:
The council voted 16-8, with seven abstentions, to strike down a plan to scrap funding for one of former Mayor Megan Barry’s defining projects. It would have revoked the council’s 31-6 vote in November to approve $225 million in revenue bonds for the future stadium.
Glover’s intent, it sounds like, was to put the funding on hold because of concerns that money was being spent on stadium prep before the bonds had even been sold:
Glover’s push was inspired by recent reports from WSMV-TV scrutinizing preliminary work for the stadium. That included one story that found Metro Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebeling authorized $135,000 in predevelopment work overseen by Commonwealth Development Group that came from Bridgestone Arena’s financial account. The Metro Sports Authority, which operates the arena, was unaware of the spending.
“We have spent money that we never authorized,” Glover said. “And until we get our act together, until we as a council fully understand what the expenses are, then I’m asking us to rescind it.”
Stadium backer Councilmember Colby Sledge, though, retorted that funding had to be approved so that negotiations could begin with the owners of Nashville S.C. over a community benefits plan:
“If we’re going to go ahead and have this action to rescind then what’s the point?” Sledge said. “Why are we asking community members to come out and spend their time?
“To me, I think it’s disingenuous to say we would potentially do this and have this hang over our heads.”
Uhhh, maybe actually the team owners might have more incentive to negotiate a community benefits agreement if they didn’t already have their money in hand? Just a thought. Now that the funding is back on track, we’ll see how well Sledge’s “hand over the cash now, negotiate terms later” plan ends up working.