Thursday, March 26th, Knoxville community members gathered with City of Knoxville officials to learn why the stadium construction is about more than just baseball.
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs joined other local officials and a representative from Boyd Sports to explain what the multi-use and multi-purpose stadium would do for the city of Knoxville.
“This is something that we, the city, and the county have been looking at very carefully in partnership… I am in support of the multi-use stadium in our city…” Kincannon said. “This project is about so much more than just baseball and I will be excited, hopefully with so many others, to see baseball back in Knoxville very close to its original roots.”
Part of the attraction to the construction of the multi-use stadium is the potential investment in the Knoxville community.
“It’s an opportunity to revitalize and bring new to a blighted are that has sat vacant for 20 years,” Kincannon said. “… It’s about creating a new public asset much like our parks and greenways. A multi-use venue that will serve our local community while drawing visitors and their dollars from the surrounding region.”
While the plan is generating a lot of excitement for America’s favorite pastime to return to Knoxville is the concern in finding the money for the construction.
President of the University of Tennessee, Randy Boyd, bought the land between Jackson and Willow avenues to give for the construction of the stadium.
According to CompassKnox, “Boyd has proposed a publicly financed stadium, which could cost up to $65 million, as the centerpiece of a project that would represent a more than $200 million investment in the blighted warehouse district east of the Old City. Boyd’s GEM Development Group would build a $140 million mixed-use development surrounding the stadium.”
Knoxville residents will not have to bear a tax burden during or post-construction. In a recent development State Senator Becky Massey is sponsoring a bill to fund construction from sales tax from businesses within a surrounding quarter-mile of the stadium site.
“Any debt service that the city or county would likely have to pay for this would be very small in the terms amount of their budget,” said Mark Mamantov, an advisor to the city and county on finance matters, during the community meeting. “This is not something that would be a stretch for the city or county financially, even if things turn south.”
Officials say the overall benefit of the completion of the multi-use stadium would be an immense economic boost for the city of Knoxville and Knox County.
“If you look at almost any other similar sized community in the South and really across the country most of them have three main components to their civic furniture,” Mamantov said. “One a performing arts center which we have with the auditorium and Tennessee Theatre. One an indoor arena which we have with the coliseum. What we don’t have is an amphitheater type project or open air project like a baseball stadium that almost every other city our size… will look for.”
The mayors addressed concerns by residents that they were being consulted too late in the process, but countered they were in fact early in the process of planning.
While the completion of the stadium is not projected to be until the Spring of 2023, there is ongoing discussion and meetings to further the project and keep city residents informed.