Now it's time for the Metro Council to weigh in on funding plans for a soccer stadium in Nashville. The Sports Authority signed off Thursday without much pushback. The council is being asked to approve a total of $275 million in borrowing.
Most of the bonds are supposed to be paid off by ticket sales and ultimately the team's investors, led by businessman John Ingram. The city would shoulder $50 million, which would go toward new roads around the stadium and improving buildings at the fairgrounds where the coliseum would be built. In return, the funding resolution spells out that the city will get to use the facility for its own purposes 20 days a year.
Approval of the funding is considered a requirement for Nashville to compete for a Major League Soccer expansion team. But Zak Kelly, from the city's finance department, says nothing is set in stone.
"Those bonds wouldn't be issued unless we are awarded an MLS team, number one. And number two, this is never the end of the road," Kelly says, calling the 40-member council a "partner."
The Metro Council will also have to vote on the site plan at some point because it requires a substantial rezoning, Kelly says.
The funding resolution is on the Metro Council's agenda for Tuesday night, but it's expected to be deferred until after a public hearing at the end of this month, scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at the fairgrounds.
Even members of the Metro Council who have been most vocal about critiquing the plan say they're not opposed to it — they just want to make it better. Councilman Bob Mendes says one of his biggest concerns at the moment is coming up with a plan for traffic and parking during games. He's also called a private development that was dropped into the plan a "non-starter."