No Christmas Lights Display at Jellystone Park This Year
The news came after a community meeting Wednesday night hosted by Metro Councilman Jeff Syracuse, who represents the Nashville district where Jellystone Park is located. Jane Eaton, one of the owners of the RV campground where the show is held, said the event “is probably not going to happen.” She told the Tennessean, “We’ve been shut down by the city.”
Syracuse claimed that the holiday display caused unacceptable traffic issues along Music Valley Drive, which parallels Briley Parkway and feeds into the campground. He says that the owners of the property failed to submit an updated traffic plan for the event, and that the property itself is not properly zoned for what the city says is a “temporary festival.”
Eaton claims that a traffic plan has been in place for the last seven years and that changes were made for the event in 2015 and 2016. She told the newspaper, “They… did not ask for anything different this year than they have from previous years. Why they’re changing their mind — we’re not sure.”
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the results of a holiday traffic study commissioned by the parent company of the Gaylord Opryland Resort (which sits less than a mile from Jellystone Park) were released. One of the short-term recommendations from the report was to implement a traffic plan that prevented the Dancing Lights of Christmas traffic from stretching to McGavock Pike, which borders the Inn at Opryland.
Mike Scalf, another owner of the campground, said Wednesday, “After numerous attempts to work with the city, we can’t help but feel we’re being singled out as the little guy. As I’ve said, we are a small, family-owned operation. We’re no Gaylord. Trying to shut us down right before the holidays is unfair and unjust.”
The Dancing Lights of Christmas featured hundreds of thousands of LED Christmas lights which “moved” in sync with Christmas music that visitors could enjoy through their in-vehicle stereo systems while driving through the campground. In a press release, Scalf said that Jellystone Park had already begun hiring employees and renting equipment, and that he was unaware of the issue until contacted by a reporter the night before the community meeting. Metro Planning Director Doug Sloan said that a notice was sent to the campground last Friday.
Scalf is still holding out hope that the Dancing Lights of Christmas will proceed this year. But it appears that the area’s governing bodies would have to grant multiple exemptions in order for that to happen.
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