Build Stadium to Benefit Residents; Activists

From left, Derrek Odom, Odessa Kelly, Rosa Ponce, and at right, Colby Sledge and Freddie O’Connell stand for a better city. Photo by Clint Confehr

NASHVILLE, TN — Davidson County residents should benefit from the construction of a soccer stadium, according to people speaking Tuesday at City Hall.

“We want the soccer team to pick a responsible builder,” said Odessa Kelly, StandUp Nashville co-chair with Anne Barnett. campaign and community coordinator for the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

If housing is built on the 10 acres proposed for a soccer stadium and other structures for commercial and/or residential purposes, then some of the housing units should be designated as affordable housing, Kelly said.

“Good intentions are not a replacement for a Community Benefits Agreement,” Rosa Ponce, a community organizer with the painters union, said at a City Hall gathering Tuesday.

A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) can’t be between the city and the stadium business, Councilman Colby Sledge said. It must be with a third party.

A CBA is needed so that when the stadium and other projects are built on 10 acres at the fairgrounds, the flea market and near Fort Negley “it’s for the best of the community,” Sledge said.

While CBAs are new to Nashville, they’re not new to many other cities, Sledge said. One was created for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kelly said talks with soccer business and facilities developers could be more productive.

“The only thing they agreed to is day care” for children of people who would build and work at the stadium and/or other structures on the 10-acre site, Kelly said. She wants a living wage for workers there; safety for workers in compliance with state and federal occupational safety agency regulations.

To further labor rights, Ponce invites people to Alianza Laboral Workers Resource Center, 570 Rundle Ave.

Derrick Odom, a steel construction worker and Local 492 member, wants a job building the stadium and other structures proposed at the site. He describes himself as one of the “cowboys in the sky.”

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