Members of the Nashville Fair Board are calling on the mayor to spend money on the fairgrounds in his capital spending budget.
In the past, Mayor John Cooper has advocated including public spaces and parks in the fairgrounds’ redevelopment. But in his budget proposal he left out the fairgrounds.
Councilmember Colby Sledge says not having the funding would stall multiple projects.
“Completing the greenway, connecting to the new bus stops on Nolensville, mitigating Brown’s creek and actually continuing to improve the flooding situation there,” he listed off during a Metro Fair Board meeting.
Sledge says he’s introduced a substitute bill to add $7 million to the capital spending budget for the fairgrounds. He’s currently waiting to hear from the city’s finance director if the city can afford it.
Board doesn’t represent city
Nashville officials are being criticized for the Fair Board’s having only white leaders. The five-person, resident-led board runs the fairgrounds’ budget, along with overseeing new facilities and investments.
Mayor Cooper appoints members to city boards, but he missed a chance to add a person of color when his first candidate withdrew their application, his office says. Cooper tried to recommend a second candidate but the deadline had passed.
Now, Vice Mayor Jim Schulman’s has chance to fill the position. Some residents and city officials are calling on him to appoint a person of color, specifically a Latino from the Nolensville corridor.
“I’m aware of the need for diversity,” Schulman tells WPLN News. “And I will work to address that.”
He says two candidates are on his radar. One is a Latino man and the other is a Black man. He will have informal conversations with them both prior to making his decision.
Since 2016, only two people of color have served on the board.