Nashville taxpayers to pay $300K for fairgrounds renovations - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Nashville taxpayers to pay $300K for fairgrounds renovations

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Nashville taxpayers will have to fork out $300,000 to fix flood damage at the state fairgrounds all because Metro simply failed to ask FEMA for the money.

The fairgrounds has been the object of debate for years over funding and treatment of the facility, and like a lot of places, it was damaged in the historic May 2010 flood.

However, unlike for other places, the city did not request federal money to fix damage at the fairgrounds.

Now, more than three years later, much of the asphalt at the fairgrounds remains covered in pot holes and one of its main access bridges remains closed due to the water damage.

"It's unlevel, and it's worse as you get closer to the road," said Rick Williams, with the group Save Our Fairgrounds.

The city believes it would take $300,000 to fix the paving issue, but back in 2010, the city did not apply for any grants from FEMA that would have paid to fix the fairgrounds.

"Unfortunately, we were looking at closing, so nobody wanted to put money into something that might be mothballed anyway at that time," said fairgrounds executive director Buck Dozier.

Since then, 71 percent of voters said they wanted to save the state fairgrounds, and for those who fought the mayor to keep it, they question Metro's motivation in the flood recovery.

"My reaction would be you should still take care of your property. Maybe the person who was going to buy it wouldn't want these here. And then you neglect your property when you could get federal dollars," Williams said.

The man runs the fairgrounds says there was no plot to ignore the fairgrounds.

"The conspiracy theory would not fit at all. It was purely a timing issue," Dozier said.

The $300,000 is in the mayor's budget, and this caught the attention of many. Dozier said he has a wish list of several things that would cost $1 million, and he thinks they would make the fairgrounds a real moneymaker.

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