Monday, July 05, 2010

One day the fairgrounds may be called "Deaneapolis"

A local preservation group wants to know why Mayor Karl Dean is passing on the $8,000 bill from a local nonprofit he enlisted to lead the task force he assigned to consider options for future uses of the fairgrounds. Here is part of the press release the group sent to the Nashville neighborhoods e-list:
The invoice in question is from the Civic Design Center, who the mayor hired to run the meetings. Apparently no one on the Metro staff is capable of the task, so it was outsourced.

The CDC, apparently also entered into the job with the understanding that it was the mayor's task force, and sent their invoice to Alexia Poe at the Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development, who forwarded it to the fair board's office for payment.

Additionally, a look at past Fair Board meeting minutes indicates that this project has not been presented to, nor approved by, the Fair Board of Commissioners.

This seems to be another part of the on-going effort to drain the profits of the Fairgrounds operation. Put this in the same category as other "service fees" that Metro charges to the Fairgrounds, such as the $300,000 annual "Personal, professional and legal fees" or the "Indirect LOCAP expense" of $157,000 or over $8,000 per year for "Vehicle Maintenance" (among others).
I have been slow to take sides in the debate over what to do about the fairgrounds, but it is hard not to pull for the underdogs in the latest episode of mayoral melodrama. The preservationists do not seem to stand a ghost of a chance. However, it is pathetic that Mayor Dean passed on the costs for a task force that was his idea to the trustees of the fairgrounds. It looks like a gambit to saddle the fairgrounds spreadsheet with random expenses so that later someone in Metro Finance might be enlisted to ride in and save the fairgrounds from skyrocketing costs. I cannot see it saved for anyone beyond some wealthy developers to convert into private property.

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