Tonight’s online update regarding the progress on the Nashville SC stadium gives fans a lot of reason for optimism.
The update, sponsored by the city of Nashville, The Fairgrounds, Nashville SC, the Nashville Sports Authority and Mortenson/Messer (the building management firm), ran about an hour long and covered the progress up to now and the expectations for the future.
In his opening comments, Metro Council member Colby Sledge welcomed everyone and introduced Mark Sturtevant, the Director of Development for the City of Nashville. Sturtevant began by reasserting the importance of the affordable housing portion of the project and the activation of the Wedgewood Houston area in general. He emphasized how open everyone in the project has been with the city. Again, the purpose of this forum was to allow as much community involvement and questions as possible.
Michael Carter, principal of Mortenson/Messer introduced Mieah Turner, the construction manager who ran through material we had heard before about the project, showing renderings of the outside and inside of the stadium. She emphasized again that the project would be complete for the beginning of the 2022 MLS season. Turner noted that the construction team was now housed in offices onsite and that the design team would be moving in sometime this month. Turner emphasized that the haul and return routes for construction were continuing to work well.
Trevor Delong, Construction Superintendent, provided a day in the life of the stadium by providing pictures of the workers meeting each morning to literally stretch and listen to activities for the day. Most of the blasting has been complete. The focus for the next month is getting the dirt off site so that the building of the stadium can begin. Delong provided a six month model of how the building would take place. Between now and end of the year, the focus will be on dirt removal and utility installation. Most of the larger pours will take place during this period. The structural steel work will begin in early January and should be complete by this time next year. The next several months should really show visible change.
Shanael Phillips emphasized again that the business inclusion goal was 30% small/women-owned/ minority-owned firms and a workforce inclusion goal of 22% people of color and women. While they have not yet met these targets, they fully expect to and are holding themselves accountable. Phillips encouraged everyone to remain updated through the website, www.NashvilleSCstadium.com. That site contains weekly updates of activities, FAQs, and stadium progress. Questions should be sent to Info@NashvilleSCstadium.com or through the website.
A question to the panelist about traffic in the neighborhood pointed to a number of improvements, including the completion of the Wedgewood extension and a bridge to Craighead, work on routing on Nolensville and other traffic routes in the area.
Questions were raised about the proposed parking plan. The parking plan does not contain enough spots for every attendee, but in reality that is the case with all public buildings, including Nissan. There will be ride sharing opportunities, increased bike routes, sidewalks and plenty of parking one mile within the area. The city and the stadium are working on procuring new lots in the area. Laura Womack, executive director of the Fairgrounds anticipates that there will be enough parking in lots and offsite. She urged everyone to remember that it is in everyone’s interest to make parking in the area work, so they are clearly committed to this.
Moreover, Sturtevant stressed, the infrastructure of the neighborhood will not stop being built the day the stadium is complete; changes will be made as the city is able to assess how traffic and parking is experienced organically. This will include an assessment of adding shuttle routes by Nashville Metro Transit Authority. Additional thoughts about sidewalks or other traffic issues can be sent to Colby Sledge or Mark Sturtevant.
When questions were raised about “noise” in the neighborhood, it was noted that the canopy of the stadium was built to keep the noise inside the stadium and, indeed, make levels higher in the stadium and quiet outside.
As someone who lives in Wedgewood Houston–indeed, I bought over here precisely to be only a few blocks away from the stadium when it is complete–it was eye opening to hear just how much work has been done. While I wander up to the site from time to time when I’m out walking, the most I see are truckloads after truckloads of soil being taken away from the site. To be honest, though, just watching that is far more comforting than having moved here two years ago, only to watch Mayor Cooper put the project in jeopardy.
It’s happening, folks. After those endless Metro Council meetings, after the tug of war with Mayor Cooper, and in the midst of a pandemic, it is happening.