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Mayor Cooper’s Response to Private Soccer Investors

1/31/2020
Chris Song

Today, Mayor John Cooper emailed the following response to Nashville Soccer Holdings:

“Thank you for your letter. I am glad that Nashvillians have an opportunity to see the significant taxpayer savings we have obtained from our negotiations to date. Metro does face financial constraints. We need to prioritize urgent investments in education, transportation, affordable housing, public safety, and neighborhood infrastructure. Obviously, I could not in good faith commit to using additional taxpayer dollars on a private entertainment subsidy.

“Nashville Soccer Holdings has agreed to absorb an additional $85 million in stadium cost overruns. Additionally, Metro Government will save at least $19 million in stadium related infrastructure costs and $35 million in Rent Reduction Guaranty obligations for the MLS stadium. All told, this represents $139 million in taxpayer savings – a vast improvement for Nashville residents.

“Metro’s commitment to $225 million in revenue bonds for the stadium and $25 million of general obligation bonds for stadium-related infrastructure has not changed. That is worth repeating: our financial commitment has not waivered. These ongoing conversations are about controlling costs and creating a site that works for everyone.

“One of the important components of the unified site plan at the Fairgrounds is Parcel 8c. The public space that links two 30,000-seat stadiums has the potential to become one of the most important in Nashville. Careful design and execution is essential to make the site work for two large public venues - supporting circulation, security, staging and access. Given the long-term significance of the Fairgrounds for our community, this space deserves thoughtful analysis that meets the highest standards for urban design. Nashville deserves a carefully planned multi-functional space, as opposed to a parking structure that looms over the speedway. This approach would enhance the quality of the Fairgrounds experience for everyone and showcase the unique function of this place for all its users.

“I have been and will continue to remain fully supportive of the community benefits agreement between Stand Up Nashville and the stadium investors. I am not aware of any changes to – or intent to change – the CBA. In our previous discussions, we clearly provided alternative solutions for CBA assets that would be affected by the redesign of Parcel 8c, including relocating into other parts of the site.

“As we discussed earlier this week, I look forward to continuing our discussions to make the historic Fairgrounds a site that works for all of Nashville, including professional soccer.”