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Mayor Barry Statement on Major League Soccer in Nashville

January 26, 2017

Mayor Megan Barry has issued the following statement on the administration’s support for bringing Major League Soccer to Nashville and the location of the Fairgrounds Nashville as the best place for a new soccer stadium:

“I fully support the effort to bring Major League Soccer to Nashville. While no formal proposals or deals have been reached, we have been working with the local organizing group, led by John Ingram and Bill Hagerty, to submit a great application to MLS.

“Ultimately, a soccer facility will be needed in order to attract an MLS team here to Nashville. I believe a private-public partnership, with an emphasis on the “private” part of the equation, will be needed in order to accomplish this goal, and I am convinced that the best and only site for this to happen would be at the Fairgrounds Nashville.

“This will not come at the expense of any existing activities at the Fairgrounds, such as racing, the flea market, or the fair, but will be in addition to all the great things that are happening there now.

“Last year, we allocated $12 million in capital funds to start the renovation of the Fairgrounds property, in addition to $3 million for community soccer fields at that site.

“I’ve also asked the Fairgrounds manager to initiate an RFP for the operation of the racetrack. For too long, we have held back the chances for racing to be successful by limiting the term of the contract. This RFP will seek innovative proposals that could result in an operator willing to make necessary capital improvements to the track with a long-term agreement by which they can recoup the investment.

“With playing fields, pro soccer, a more viable racing operation, a greenway through the property and renovated, improved buildings, the fairgrounds will share in and help continue Nashville’s prosperity.”