Getting approval for a pro soccer stadium was a big win this month for the sport’s supporters in Nashville. But the Metro Council’s decision came with an important last-minute assist.
The vote happened less than 24 hours after the Major League Soccer team’s ownership group finished negotiating with a coalition of labor unions and community groups. The two sides were racing against the clock to finalize a “community benefits agreement” (CBA) that several council members had described as a “must” to earn their support.
In the conversation above, WPLN’s Jason Moon Wilkins and Tony Gonzalez unpack what the benefits agreement means for the soccer stadium, its surrounding neighborhood and future civic projects.
- Beyond the widely-publicized affordable housing and "living wage" requirements in the CBA, the ownership team is also making commitments to create a childcare facility, low-rent micro retail spaces and several soccer-related programs.
- To a scale not seen in Nashville, the agreement promises hiring practices that focus on employing high-needs residents from high-poverty neighborhoods.
- Metro Council members like Anthony Davis weigh in on the first-of-its-kind agreement, calling it a "landmark" that creates "a template going forward."
- The CBA mirrors ideas seen in stadium projects in other cities like Milwaukee and L.A., but differs in key ways.
- While some officials hope to see more CBAs, Nashville Mayor David Briley has tempered expectations. "We’re not going to have an MLS expansion every year. It’s going to be a narrower set of circumstances where we have community benefit agreements going forward."