A couple of days ago, in the midst of my fairgrounds thinking , I tweeted the following:
I got some chuckles for this, with Ben Vos proclaiming it as “brilliant.” It seemed good for a laugh at the time, something to be thrown out and then forgotten.
And yet, as I was driving home today, that post kept bouncing around my mind. Yeah, it’s a crazy idea, but when you think about it it might not be as far fetched as it seems.
Think for a moment. The May family has a bunch of property out in the country that he want’s to develop. His proposal involves turning this last bit of open land in Davidson County into a new urban community. On the flip side, we have a fairgrounds that is landlocked in an already existing urban area which doesn’t quite fit or contribute to the residential community that surrounds it. The events in these current facilities are more closely connected to a rural heritage than some sort of new urban vision of life.
So what if we were to offer a swap? What if we were to give the May family the fairgrounds in exchange for Bells Bend? What if we were to encourage the May’s to redevelop the existing fairgrounds property with their urban vision and create a new fairgrounds and rural heritage center in Bells Bend, allowing TSU to oversee an agriculture program that would be connected with the fairgrounds operation? For that matter, since Gaylord is said to be considering a revival of a theme park, what if the city entered into a deal with them to run a permanent midway at the new fairgrounds.
Yeah, I know that the complicating factors are enormous? Yeah, I know that I am suggesting a 600 acre swap of rural pasture land for 120 acres of existing concrete and buildings. Yeah, I realize that we just took on a billion dollar capital project that will keep us from doing any other city redevelopment. Yes, it’s a totally crazed proposal.
But interesting things arise from crazed proposals. So I thought I would put it out there and see what happens.
What do you think? Would those opposed to the closing of the fairgrounds be open to having the same functions in another location? Would those opposed to Maytown be more amenable if the project were located closer to downtown? What other creative options are open to us that we haven’t yet thought that would make our city a better place?