Finley Stadium Seeing New Activity; $600,000 Campaign Started For New Turf, Other Improvements

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - by Gail Perry

The Finley Stadium Board of Directors was told of all the activity that has nothing to do with football which takes place at the stadium every weekend. The field is now being used on a regular basis for practice, games and soccer clinics with a new partner, the Chattanooga Football Club.

This is a great partnership, said Executive Director Paul Smith, and a new way of bringing in revenue at this time of the year. The facilities are also being used as a gathering place for races and fundraisers and the Stadium Club for catered events.

The new budget has money designated for marketing the stadium to attract even more events, especially those that would put people in seats that will buy food. “It’s exciting to see what is going on here,” said board member Ricki Pierce.

Another new source of revenue will come from concessions and catering services that are now being done in-house. Hayley Bates came to Finley Stadium from the Tennessee Aquarium where she was in charge of food and beverage services and will now be in charge of that part of the business at Finley. The stadium is also in the process of obtaining a beer and liquor license so that alcoholic beverage sales can be handled in-house as well. The combined income from food and beverage sales is predicted to double to $150,000 from last year when it was handled by Randy Carpenter’s contract catering business. 

Before the application is made for a beer permit, the license held by the previous caterer must be surrendered because it used the stadium’s address. The board of directors also must give approval, which is dependent upon being satisfied that the insurance coverage is sufficient. Representatives from J. Smith Lanier & Co., the insurers, were at the board meeting to hear concerns from the board.

The facility has always been “wet,” the license is just being changed. Liability was already there when the caterer held the permit, but the board just did not realize it, said Gordon Davenport Jr. Of special concern is the personal liability of the board members, their spouses and employees of the stadium corporation. It must be “non-recourse,” said Ryan Crimmons about the insurance. A risk -management company has been hired to provide an opinion. Mr. Smith has a goal of getting the license at the July 17 meeting of the Chattanooga Beer Board.

The stadium is now 18 years old, with the average life expectancy of a stadium being 40 years, said Chairman Bryan Patten. The support group Friends of Finley has raised money for improvements to the facility during that time. Now several major projects are needed and the board is committed to not allowing the Friends of Finley fund to get below $50,000.

 Mike Davis, board member in charge of capital improvements, reported that negotiations are underway for replacing the artificial turf. There are also issues with replacing some of the seating, and areas of the building need caulking. He asked the board for and was given approval to begin a $600,000 fundraising effort over the next two years for capital improvements.

 Projects with the highest priorities will be done as money is received. The work most needed is to replace the turf. The goal to do this is by the start of the 2015 football season. UTC Athletic Director David Blackburn has joined the stadium board in determining the turf and the supplier to use. Negotiations are still in process but at this time, the quote from AstroTurf, a company located in Dalton, Ga., is the most attractive proposal.

 “We have a fabulous facility,” said Mr. Patten and need the fundraising effort to keep up the quality. He and the executive director are also determined to “create a win-win relationship with UTC athletics,” and will be looking for the football program and UTC to share in maintenance of Finley Stadium. He noted that coach Russ Huesman has transformed the capabilities of the football program that will likely take the team to new levels and so it is anticipated that attendance will be high at the games this season.

Income from a proposed cell phone tower on the stadium property will provide money that has never been available before. A new design has been presented which is a structure that will hold three signs. A proposal from Wireless Properties presented to the board at the last meeting would pay $853 per month or 30 percent of the rental fees from providers that use the tower. This amount is seen as insufficient by Mr. Smith and the board.  Mr. Smith said that he is still in negotiations for the style of the tower and for getting a rental price that he considers to be reasonable.   

In the financial report, growth in revenue is anticipated from increased parking fees and the rental of two additional sky boxes. Charges have been raised for rentals of the stadium facilities and pavilion in addition to the increasing number of events being held. Security will now be done in-house and will be charged to users. This is budgeted to supply $10,000 of new income. Savings should also come from most of the maintenance being done by staff members versus contract workers and more efficient use of utilities. The addition of the partnership with Chattanooga Football Club will provide $30,000 of new revenue this year. The Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau is giving the stadium $30,000, which is $10,000 less than last year. First Tennessee Bank is giving $52,500 and the city of Chattanooga is contributing nothing.

Increased expenses include money budgeted for marketing the facilities, higher payroll expenses due to having two directors for a period of time. The cost of supplies needed to create a catering service will also add to the expenses.  Insurance costs are up a little due to wider coverage and because an alcohol rider has been added. A new item on the expense side of the financial report is for money to be set aside each year in a “depreciation fund.” This year, $50,000 is budgeted for the purpose of taking care of maintenance issues in the future.  


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AMEY, ANTHONY GEORGE  5245 LOMNICK CHATTANOOGA, 37410  Age at Arrest: 26 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga RECKLESS DRIVING DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE SEAT BELT LAW VIOLATION --- BARNETT, PRINTICE JAMES  5004 CAMERON AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at ... (click for more)

Cynthia Stanley-Cash Says District 5 Stagnating; VRI Is Not Working

City Council District 5 candidate Cynthia Stanley-Cash said the district has not experienced economic and community development for many years. She also said that the city's Violence Reduction Initiative is not working and many citizens in the district feel it should be disbanded. Ms. Stanley-Cash said, "I was born in Chattanooga and have lived here all my life, by choice.  ... (click for more)

A Light Rain Began To Fall - And Response (3)

Around noon Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the most powerful nation on Earth after a long and sometimes bitter campaign where 17 GOP candidates of his own party and two of the opposing party competed for the honor.   Thousands rejoiced in the Washington D.C. streets while policemen who had come along with national guardsmen pushed ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Jumoke’s Thuggery Ends

Jumoke Johnson, the most notorious criminal in Chattanooga’s recent history, was killed by a rain of bullets in the 2100 block of East 12 th Street at little after 8 o’clock Friday night and for the many of us who have kept up with the 23-year-old, you wonder how he ever lasted this long. He was aptly proclaimed as the “most dangerous man” to ever have been sentenced in Chattanooga’s ... (click for more)

Tullahoma Nips East Hamilton For Central Mat Title

The annual Central Invitational wrestling tournament was cancelled two weeks ago by the threat of inclement weather, but they were able to get it in on Saturday and it was a battle to the wire for the team championship. Luke Champion was the individual winner at 285 pounds and it was his victory that lifted the Tullahoma Wildcats to the team title as they finished the day-long ... (click for more)

Father Ryan Rallies To Beat Soddy Daisy

The Soddy Daisy Trojans may have been embarrassed over a lopsided whipping they took at the hands of the Bradley Bears Thursday night in Cleveland, but they came out with fire in their eyes Friday night in a dual meet with Father Ryan. The host Trojans had a seemingly-comfortable 32-22 lead with three matches remaining, but the Purple Irish won all three -- including two with ... (click for more)