by By Hunter R. Slaton | October 07, 2009

A new website called Nashville's Priorities has been launched by a citizens' group to oppose the construction of a new downtown convention center in the city, a favored project of Mayor Karl Dean. The site highlights the center and headquarters hotel's total projected cost of $1 billion and asks readers to consider what else Nashville could purchase for that amount. However, raising questions about the grassroots nature of Nashville's Priorities, the Tennessean reported last Thursday that Gaylord Entertainment, which owns Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, had donated $8,500 to the group. Tom Ingram, a lobbyist for Gaylord, told the newspaper that Nashville's Priorities approached the hotel company, and that the hotel company was not attempting to prevent construction of the convention center. Rather, Ingram said, Gaylord is merely interested in "a positive discussion of what is in the best interests of Nashville, its leadership and Gaylord."