Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle

By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN — Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled Friday that construction on new Expo facilities at the Fairgrounds can continue in the interim before she decides whether a soccer stadium will be built there. Flea Market vendors asked Lyle to stop any construction work at the Fairgrounds after Metro held a ground-breaking ceremony two weeks ago and closed off parking at the Fairgrounds.

The vendors claimed closing off the Walsh parking lot would reduce parking by 3500 spaces and only 300-600 parking spaces would be available for Flea Market customers; traffic engineer Christopher Rhodes calculated there would be 4,072 spaces available including spaces at the racetrack, along Craighead Street, and a Metro Nolensville parking lot about .8 miles from the Fairgrounds.

“While this evidence establishes that there will be disruption, inconvenience and potentially reduced attendance at the Flea Market during the five months of temporary reduced parking of 1,035 spaces, this evidence does not establish a real threat to the viability and continuity of the Flea Market at the Fairgrounds,” Lyle wrote.

I don’t know how she came up with what she did,” said Shane Smiley, Chairman of the Nashville Flea Market Association. Smiley claims only 5-600 cars can park at the racetrack. Rhodes figured 1100 cars could. In any event, Lyle decided reduced parking would not kill off the events and would only be temporary. That doesn’t meet the irreparable harm standard required to issue an injunction “with such drastic effects”.

Lyle ruled that the preponderance of the evidence supported her conclusion that the Fairgrounds can withstand a temporary reduction in parking. She noted the Fair Park Lot would be able to accommodate 1,150 additional cars by April 2019.

Lyles denied the temporary injunction and set November 30 for a conference to schedule discovery and select a trial date sometime in December.