Council Creates Convention Center Authority in Special Meeting

The Metro Council voted 33 to 3 Friday afternoon to create a new board that will oversee construction of the proposed downtown convention center.

Members like Michael Craddock didn’t consider their vote to create the 9-member Convention Center Authority a vote for the project, which has not yet received final approval. In light of mismanaged pre-construction contracts that have surfaced in recent weeks, Craddock says he just wanted the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency off the project.

“MDHA is throwing it away over there. I believe this authority is the answer to that fiscal irresponsibility.”

But three council members opposed the authority: Eric Crafton, Mike Jameson and Emily Evans. Evans has previously been supportive of creating a separate authority to handle the convention center. But now she says there are too many unanswered questions, like how it will be financed.

“This is a really big project and I think it’s being handled with casualness of a sidewalk project.”

Evans says creating the authority means the $635 million convention center would avoid a possible referendum by Davidson County voters.

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