City Taking Lead In Talks Over Future Of AT&T Field

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The city is taking the lead in talks over the future of AT&T Field, City Attorney Wade Hinton told members of the Sports Authority Board on Tuesday.

City Attorney Hinton said the River City Company has also had involvement, but is now taking a back seat to the city.

The board, which was meeting for the first time in a year, approved a modified lease agreement for the property.

City Attorney Hinton said it continues to state that if professional baseball ceases to be played at the site, then the Chattanooga Baseball Club will be responsible for demolishing the stadium and returning the property as it received it.

Attorney Mike St. Charles, who attended the meeting representing the Chattanooga Lookouts, said current owner Frank Burke "has every intention of seeing that pro baseball remains in Chattanooga."

The Lookouts remain for sale, attorney St. Charles said.

He said he could not comment on the status of any negotiations for a sale.

Mr. Burke is no longer active with management of the club, and he spends some of his time traveling to watch his son's college baseball team in action, it was stated.

Attorney St. Charles said under terms of the lease that pro baseball must continue in Chattanooga through 2024. He said there is an option to renew the lease through 2049.

The only way pro baseball would be discontinued before 2024 would be through a breach of the lease by the baseball club, attorney St. Charles said.

The Sports Authority initially had nine members - one appointment each by the City Council members. Two members - Tony Sanders and Morris Chapman - had to leave the board because they do not live in the city.

There were four members present, and that was considered a majority of the remaining seven board members.

Present were Chairman Hicks Armor and members Ray Adkins, Bill Lockhart and Vince Butler. 

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