A majority of residents who live near the Nashville Fairgrounds say they do not support upgrading the racetrack. That was one of the findings shared by the group Stand Up Nashville, who asked over 500 nearby community members what they think about the city attempting to bring top-level racing to the area.
The controversy began back in March, after the city made a tentative agreement with Bristol Motor Speedway to renovate the Fairgrounds Speedway. In May, Stand Up Nashville began a survey to collect community feedback from residents who live within two miles of the racetrack.
The survey was done over the course of two months. The group presented their findings to the Metro Fair Board on Tuesday.
Among their findings were:
- 55% of respondents said they don’t support the racetrack expansion as it’s currently proposed
- 34% of respondents said they do support the current plan
- 11% of respondents said they weren’t sure
But an overwhelming 74% of residents surveyed — including those who are in favor of the development — said they had concerns. The organization found that residents are most worried about the possibility of more noise and traffic. Other grievances have to do with the risk of gentrification, cost, impact on property value and the project’s lack of community input.
Candace LaFayette, who presented the findings, told the Fair Board that many residents feel the question of whether to upgrade the racetrack is already decided.
“A huge percentage of them just felt like there’s nothing we can do about this,” LaFayette said. “They’re just kind of accepting their fate.”
Stand Up Nashville concluded that the renovation is not popular among residents and community members want more time to be included in the decision-making process.
As of now, the city and Bristol Motor Speedway have until July 31 to reach a deal.
Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips told the Board of Fair Commissioners, “We want this to be something that everybody can be proud of and that it contributes to our community and not as a distraction.”