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Residents Get First Look At Proposed Nashville Concert Venue

Barry Herring presents his idea for a new concert venue in Nashville, which will likely sit on former farmland just outside the city limits.

Photo: Becca Costello

Barry Herring presents his idea for a new concert venue in Nashville, which will likely sit on former farmland just outside the city limits.

Some Nashville residents say a proposed new concert venue will bring a dangerous amount of traffic to an area with senior housing.

Residents got their first look at the proposal for the 30,000 square foot Maple Leaf venue at a public meeting at the Brown County Playhouse Tuesday night.

Part of the preliminary plan calls for significantly widening Hawthorne Drive to create one of two entrances for the venue.

Marcia Henson lives on Hawthorne Drive. She supports the project, but is concerned about her elderly neighbors.

“There’s just too much traffic there as it is, and then to add 500 some cars coming and going?” she says. “There’s seniors that walk their dogs, seniors that walk with their canes, there’s seniors that come out with their electric chairs and seniors that cross the road to go to the grocery store, to CVS, and to the Family Dollar.”

The Brown County Convention and Visitors Commission is proposing using the innkeeper’s tax to fund the venue, which would be owned by the county. That’s a five percent tax paid by any visitor who stays in a Brown County inn or hotel.

Commission members at the public meeting say they’re already considering the concerns of Hawthorne Drive residents and will take measures to look out for public safety.

Commissioners also stress that the plan is in its very early stages and must go through several approval steps over the next several months, with various opportunities for additional public comment.

Overall, public comments were supportive of the idea, even giving a standing ovation after the initial presentation.

The commission estimates breaking ground on the venue by December, assuming all approvals go through, with a projected open date as soon as January 1, 2019.

Last week, the owner of the Little Nashville Opry confirmed that venue is expected to re-open in 2018. That lot has sat empty since the original concert venue burned down in 2009.

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