Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fair Enough

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2007 at 10:31 AM

A recent blog post (which we found via VV) drew our attention to a new group, or at least a new website: In Town Nashville writes, "The folks behind this website really should identify themselves somewhere, but that's my only quibble with their early efforts to build support for relocating the Tennessee State Fairgrounds." Rachel, of Women's Health News, responds cautiously in the comments:
The lack of identification makes me skeptical as well, especially given all of the "developers aren't so bad!" language. The only thing I can tell is that the site was registered by a Keith Moorman. I'm also interested in knowing whether they have been in contact with any existing neighborhood groups, like South Nashville Action People, who have been talking about and involved with the Fairgrounds issue for a while now (haven't received a response to my email inquiry). While I'm all for improvement because I live nearby, it's hard to know right now who these people are or what their real intentions are.
We asked around a bit, and no one seemed to have heard of the group or the website. Shannon Hornsby of Walk/Bike Nashville said she had never seen the site before. An email to the Middle Tennessee chapter of The U.S. Green Building Council was unanswered as of this writing.

We were, however, able to catch up with the site's creator. Pith in the Wind spoke to Mr. Moorman by phone yesterday. Mr. Moorman said that the website does not represent any organization, per se, but, rather, "It's just me." He stated that he is an attorney but that, "I don't practice." Asked if he was the same Keith Moorman who is an attorney with Frost Brown Todd, a firm with a Nashville office, he responded, "No, sir, that is not me." (That Keith Moorman, incidentally, according to the firm's website, "obtained summary judgment for public employer on claim by former employee that he was discharged for speech allegedly protected by the First Amendment," among other successful defenses of corporations.)

"The project's done. I just wanted to put my opinion out there—just to get my point across," he said. "If the city goes forward...if something comes of it, great." That shoulder-shrugging statement seems to sell short the mission expressed on the website:
The mission of is two-fold:

One, we advocate for an alternative use of the current Fairgrounds site. Of course, right now no one knows what that will eventually be, and besides, whatever happens to a redeveloped Fairgrounds is for all of Nashville to decide. Our single, simple goal for the Fairgrounds is to see a green development that includes pedestrian-friendly spaces, plenty of trees, and no entertainment venues that create noise and draw excessive traffic.

Two, we advocate for relocating the Fairgrounds to an alternative site in Davidson County that can continue the great tradition of the Tennessee State Fair, but with updated facilities, better interstate access, and a more suitable topography for hosting the Fair.
And though the Keith Moorman PITW spoke to called a "committee of one," he said that his wife, a Nashville attorney, would be filing the papers of incorporation necessary to gain non-profit status.

Moorman seemed eager to ward off the "tone of suspicion" he said he had picked up from some of the emails he had received. "The prevailing attitude seems to be, 'Who are these people? Is there something shady going on?' People think I'm a developer. I'm just a citizen." Later in the conversation, he added, "I'm not affiliated with any developer."

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