An ordinance amending Section 2.78.010 of the Metropolitan Code to require the Board of Fair Commissioners to solicit proposals for the partial development of the fairgrounds as a theme park.

WHEREAS, Section 2.78.010 of the Metropolitan Code requires the Board of Fair Commissioners, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Department of Parks and Recreation and the Metropolitan Planning Department, to develop a master plan for the future development and operation of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds site and surrounding area; and

WHEREAS, the Fairgrounds site is located in close proximity to other downtown entertainment venues including the Ryman Auditorium, LP Field, the Bridgestone Arena, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Nashville Convention Center; and

WHEREAS, Metropolitan Nashville brands itself as Music City, USA, and promotes a wide variety of entertainment for tourists and resident citizens; and

WHEREAS, the Opryland USA theme park was once a tourist attraction that sat on 120 acres, had 27 total rides, and witnessed 2.5 million visitors annually to the park; and

WHEREAS, the tourist revenue generated for the city by Opryland USA was extremely valuable in promoting Metropolitan Nashville as Music City, USA and funding operations of the city; and

WHEREAS, owner Gaylord Entertainment chose to close the Opryland USA theme park in 1997, resulting in lost tourist revenue for the city; and

WHEREAS, the city has failed to compensate for the lost tourist revenue with the closing of the Opryland USA theme park; and

WHEREAS, theme parks have continually succeeded in attracting tourists, generating large amounts of capital, and in being a positive source of work for the local population; and

WHEREAS, the Dollywood theme park is situated on 150 acres, has 26 total rides, generates 2.5 million guests to the park annually, and has 3,000 local residents on its payroll, making it the largest single employer of the east Tennessee community of Pigeon Forge; and

WHEREAS, there are numerous theme park development companies located throughout the United States whose projects represent reputable, money making ventures; and

WHEREAS, theme park companies will typically cooperate with municipal officials to complete a feasibility study and develop a master plan for the particular site; and

WHEREAS, the 117-acre Fairgrounds site would be an ideal location for a theme park to supplement the entertainment environment of downtown Nashville and its designation as Music City USA; and

WHEREAS, the theme of the proposed park should be centered on Country Music and NASCAR to supplement the existing entertainment venues of the downtown Nashville area; and

WHEREAS, such a theme park will be a beneficial attraction for tourists of Metropolitan Nashville, generate substantial revenue for the city, and provide invaluable work opportunities for the local population.


Section 1. Section 2.78.010 of the Metropolitan Code is hereby amended by adding the following new subsection D.:

“D. In conjunction with the master plan required pursuant to subsection C. of this section, the fair board shall take the action necessary to solicit proposals for the partial development of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds site as a theme park. For purposes of this subsection, ‘theme park’ means a commercially operated amusement park with music as its central theme. The park shall include rides, shows, games, and other forms of entertainment.”

Section 2. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after its enactment, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Bruce Stanley, Duane Dominy


Introduced: October 4, 2011
Passed First Reading: October 4, 2011
Referred to: Codes, Fair and Farmers Market Committee
Withdrawn: October 18, 2011