Gaylord Seeks Rebuilding Funds

Gaylord Entertainment Co. is in talks with Nashville officials about getting the company’s portion of hotel tax proceeds in advance to help pay for rebuilding the Grand Ole Opry and Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

Gaylord Chairman/CEO Colin Reed submitted a request June 15 to the city requesting a portion of tax proceeds initially earmarked to finance a $400 million expansion plan at Opryland that was announced in 2007. That project has yet to break ground and Gaylord officials hope a portion of that money can be used now to pay for flood damage repairs to both venues, according to the Nashville Business Journal. Repairs could cost up to $225 million.

The Metro Nashville County Council is considering the request and the state legislature has reportedly approved a sales tax exemption to help Gaylord with repair costs. Gov. Phil Bredesen just needs to sign on the dotted line, the Journal said.

“The Grand Ole Opry is synonymous with Nashville’s identity as Music City,” Mayor Karl Dean told the paper. “If there is a way for the city to help this iconic institution re-open its doors, I think it’s certainly something we should consider.”

Meanwhile, Gaylord officials are said to be taking on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding what caused the Cumberland River to flood May 2 and overrun the levee system surrounding the Opryland complex, according to the Journal.

The issues reportedly include inaccurate predictions from government entities that day as to how water released from dams in Kentucky and Tennessee during the region’s record rainfall would affect the Cumberland River.