Nashville’s Priorities has launched a petition drive calling for a vote on whether to go forward with the downtown Music City Center project.
"This deal is shaping up to be the largest public works project in the history of Metro Nashville, and one of the largest in Tennessee’s history," Kevin Sharp, president of Nashville’s Priorities, said. "The people deserve to have their voices heard before public funds are committed to pay for it."
Blank petition forms will be mailed to registered voters beginning December 14, urging them to complete and sign the postage-paid card. You can download blank petitions at www.nashvillespriorities.org, along with instructions for completing them.
The petition calls for a "will of the people" election pursuant to Metropolitan Charter Section 7.05, to be conducted before any bonds are issued for the project. It also states opposition to issuing tax bonds if they are backed by property taxes and calls for a referendum vote before such bonds are issued.
"This is a way for tens of thousands of Nashvillians to be heard," Sharp said, noting that only a fraction of that number would be able to speak at the Public Hearing on the project scheduled for January 11.
A primary message of Nashville’s Priorities is that the city could create a much more potent benefit to Nashville’s economy and tourist industry by spending the money on projects besides a convention center, which most residents would seldom if ever use.
"There are lots of ways to spend a billion dollars to benefit Nashville," Sharp said. "We think the people have a right to choose whether or not to spend it on a convention center or to spend it at all -- particularly in these tight economic times and in light of downward trends in the convention industry."
The petition signatures will be gathered and presented to the Mayor at the Public Hearing scheduled for January 11, Sharp said.