The Mayor’s Director of Environment and Sustainability, Chris Bowles, has asked me (Mark Deutschmann) to speak at a Council meeting on Tuesday about the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. As you may know, they are voting on how to proceed with the race track. Given my position on the Mayor’s Open Space Advisory Committee and on the Greenways for Nashville Board, I’m a proponent of repurposing the land where the race track currently sits.
Parks and open spaces are essential to healthy neighborhoods. They provide opportunities for recreation and relaxation, reduce water pollution by absorbing storm water runoff, and increase the value of adjacent properties.
Metro Council has already approved funding for creation of a park (approximately 40 acres) that includes important amenities like a greenway trail. The question is whether that park can live up to its full potential if situation next to a racetrack. A park next to a racetrack is less safe, less attractive and more polluted than a park without a racetrack. Would the neighbors support a racetrack next to McCabe or Richland Park? Warner Parks? Shelby Park?
Infill development is necessary to create a vibrant, thriving, healthy city. Using already-developed land is the most environmentally sustainable approach. It also will help revitalize the entire neighborhood, making it more attractive for sustainable forms of transportation such as transit, waking and biking.
Where do you stand on the issue?