Neighbors concerned about details as Bristol Motor Speedway presents expansion plans

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Tuesday night Bristol Motor Speedway presented its plans to improve the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway if a contract is approved between the company and Metro.

BMS General Manager Jerry Caldwell said the historic race track has been sitting in disrepair for decades and with a new soccer stadium going in it’s only time to renovate the speedway. Caldwell is hoping to bring in a NASCAR cup or Xfinity race to the speedway as a part of 10 motorsport weekend events.

“One of the key things we want folks to know is this does not mean more racing. Some folks think this means more events that’ll be taking place out there, motorsports events, and the number of events will not change,” Caldwell said.

BMS is proposing a 10-year lease contract to start with Metro and a $1 million per year rental agreement. But so far there is no price tag attached to what improvements will cost the city.

“There are not enough details. This project has been in the works for over four years by Bristol’s own admission and we have very scant details,” a concerned neighbor said.

The Vice Chair of the Board of Fairground Commissioners asked a series of detailed questions at Tuesday’s public hearing. One particular concern was there is not readily available sound quality data for neighbors.

“I live a mile west of the racetrack, past I-65, and I’m still hearing them regularly,” another concerned neighbor added.

But for some the historic race track holds precious memories and family histories.

“Racing is so much more than just a sport. It’s a family affair for so many people,” one woman said.

Others said they would love to see the outdated facility be renovated in order to build a better attraction for the city.

“And what I see now, today, is an opportunity to invest in that to really rebuild it,” a neighbor said.

While there were long lines on Tuesday night to speak in opposition and support of the Fairgrounds Speedway expansion plans, it’s ultimately up to the commissioners to decide how things move forward.

A meeting to revisit the proposed contract is tentatively scheduled for June 8.

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