Nashville SC: Somehow, some way, stadium project stays on schedule

Nashville SC (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Nashville SC (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The Nashville SC expansion 2017 bid hinged mightily on rock-solid stadium plans. Those plans aimed at a 30,000-seat soccer-specific venue to go on the historic fairgrounds. After balking initially, Nashville Mayor John Cooper reviewed the plans and in February last year gave the project his approval. On Valentine’s Day, the Save Our Fairgrounds citizens’ group filed an injunction.

Somehow, demolition to make room for the 22-acre stadium complex got underway. But directors found asbestos. A June 4 trial date loomed. Things got really tricky. In fact, embattled is a conservative description.

Critics of preserving all the fairgrounds argued that some of the buildings were in poor condition or unusable. Stadium proponents argued that full suspension of development cost the Nashville Metro government $6,500 a day.

The new Nashville SC stadium will be incredible

Impressively, limited demolition of some of the fairgrounds sheds and other older structures got underway mid-March. The coalition had prepared to go to court riding on a 2011 referendum protecting the fairgrounds, flea market, and motorsports on an adjacent racetrack. Also, they argued that the Metro government is required by charter to submit the stadium to another public referendum.

At one point, MLS Commissioner Don Garber even got involved in the discussion. Yet, throughout each and every crisis, the Nashville SC stadium project is on track to open sometime in the year 2022.

Staggered-schedule concrete pours are ongoing for the wall footings, terrace footings, and player bench footings. They start at 2 a.m. and end around  7 a.m., designed to reduce traffic in the area.

This first steel beam erected is part of more than 6,000 tons of metal making up the skeleton of the stadium. When the stadium opens in May 2022,  Nashville SC brass maintains it will be the largest soccer-specific stadium in the nation.

Somehow, the organization trudged through every barrier to progress that erupted over the several years. The gameplan has been to let all the dancers dance their assigned roles. The lawyers stayed in communication with officials and opponents. They presented their arguments with decorum in documents, depositions, and appearances.

Player personnel continued to work on assembling and maintaining a team that now plays in Nissan Stadium. Marketing personnel continued working with stadium plans and presenting offers to the sporting public. They’ve sold out the loge section of the future stadium.

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And vice president of operations Scott Neal said he continually focused on answering one question. That is, how to get from a pile of rocks to a 30,000-seat stadium? The answer is, keep calm and trudge to the next barrier. Then get over it.