Racing will continue at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds through all of 2009 under a lease extension given tentative approval by the fair board today.
The extension comes as the board awaits results of a study done by an outside consultant which is taking much longer than expected. They’re looking at options for future use of the 100-acre parcel, which includes the race track. Home-owners in the redeveloping Wedgewood-area increasingly complain about noise from weekend races and want something more neighborhood-friendly.
The lease extension will cost the current tenant – Music City Motorplex – an additional $30,000 over previous years. But the fair board also now will require mufflers for all local races.
Mike Hodge represents the neighbors and says they see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“We also need to not lose the longer-term picture of this. No matter what’s going on here, there’s a consultant making plans for the future. Racing may or may not be a part of that. The neighborhood is actually more excited about the future of the fair grounds.”
Hodge says he’s skeptical the motorplex has much incentive to abide by the new sound regulations since the future of the racetrack is up in the air. The fair board will take a final vote at a special meeting next week.