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NERA, Metro in negotiations over portion of stadium site
Apr 10, 2006 12:00 am
March 30, 2006 Officials with the Nashville & Eastern Rail Authority and Metro Nashville are working toward a deal that will ultimately help clear the way for a new minor league baseball park in Music City.
"The railroad actually for many years, prior to the Nashville & Eastern Railroad Authority, had an easement onto property where the Nashville Thermal Transfer Plant was located," NERA Chairman Mike Jennings said, noting the easement is roughly one-third of an acre in size.
The former thermal plant, located on the west bank of the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville, has been selected as the site for a new Nashville Sounds minor league baseball stadium.
NERA's easement represents an integral part of the property for stadium developers, NERA Attorney William Farmer said.
The railroad initially used the easement for a "spur line" which served the thermal plant, Farmer noted.
"It's owned by the railroad, and it's going through the middle of the stadium," he said.
As part of ongoing efforts to ensure the new stadium meets a target opening date set for early 2008, Metro Nashville officials and NERA representatives are negotiating a price for the .32-acre easement.
Jennings and Farmer noted they remain hopeful both sides will agree on the property value, adding the only alternative would be for NERA and Metro Nashville to settle the issue via a condemnation suit.
"Anytime that you have a property issue, you're hopeful you can resolve it without going to litigation," Farmer said, adding NERA is a "governmental agency comprised of Metropolitan Nashville" and several other cities along the rail line.
"… It's one of our own cities that we're trying to work with," he said. "So, we need to all talk about it, and I have high hopes that we can resolve something without litigation."
"Right now, we're talking, and hopefully it will be something we can resolve with a fair value on the land and put it to rest," Jennings added.
An estimate of the property's value was not available Wednesday, although Jennings said NERA General Manager Val Kelley had been instructed to garner an appraisal.
Staff Writer Brian Harville can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at email@example.com.