Randy Smith: Becoming A Reality

Friday, July 1, 2022 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
On Thursday morning, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly made a joint announcement that funds had been allocated to build a new multi-million dollar stadium for the Chattanooga Lookouts on the old Wheland Foundry site. Notice I said funds had been allocated. The proposal still needs approval by both the Hamilton County Commission and the City of Chattanooga city council as well. Even though there is some opposition, the measure should pass easily. 

I had breakfast Thursday morning with County Commissioner Tim Boyd, who is against the measure....not against the Lookouts getting a new stadium but against how it will be paid for.
He hopes that his fellow commissioners have done their homework as he has, so they can all make a good decision. A new stadium is imperative for the city to hang on to their minor league franchise, one they've held since 1976. That's when a group of investors led by Woody and Mark Reid brought the team back to town after several years of no baseball at old Engel Stadium. Everyone was very excited when the team opened play in April of 1976, and the team did well and drew well, There was always a good crowd to see the team play. 

We don't want to have to do that again. Major League Baseball has put out specific instructions as to what minor league stadiums will look like or they will pull the franchise. Time was running out for the Lookouts who have played at their present site on Hawk Hill since the late 1990s. When it opened, it was a really nice facility but almost a quarter of a century later it's outdated and no longer practical for a class AA minor league franchise. In addition to the new stadium, there will be hotels, housing, restaurants, and office buildings on the site. There will be no youth athletic fields as I had proposed several weeks ago. While the county seems to be completely happy with the plans, the City of Chattanooga recognizes the need for more and better youth fields. 

The Rec league ballparks are old, outdated and in some cases unsafe. While it appears that Rec baseball and softball is on a major decline, giving way to the explosion of select and travel teams, there are still a lot of youngsters who play the game for the love of it. And that's a good thing. While I'm a bit saddened by the fact that the city and county is missing the boat on building a new super sports complex that can host a lot of tournaments drawing teams from all over the country and putting millions of dollars into our local economy, I am happy the eyesore that is the old Wheland Foundry will soon be no more and a new modern stadium and surrounding rec areas with places to eat and live, will be the first thing visitors notice when they come into town from I-24. That's a start but but let's don't stop there. Let's find a similar place for that super sports complex and make that happen as well.

* * *

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com

AA South Baseball Standings

Lee Men's Soccer Picked Third In Preseason Poll

UTC Defender Shaw Named To SoCon Preseason Soccer Team

AA-South Standings/Results (as of games of 8/10/22) Second Half Team North Division W L PCT GB ... (click for more)

Gulf South Conference coaches have the Lee men's soccer team placing third behind West Florida and Auburn Montgomery (AUM) in their preseason poll, but that is something Flames' Coach Derek Potteiger ... (click for more)

Chattanooga women’s soccer defender Maggie Shaw was named to the Southern Conference Coaches Preseason All-Conference Team, the league office announced Thursday and the Mocs were picked to finish ... (click for more)


AA South Baseball Standings

AA-South Standings/Results (as of games of 8/10/22) Second Half Team North Division W L PCT GB Tennessee (CHC) 19 16 .543 - Rocket City (LAA)* 18 17 .514 1.0 Birmingham (CWS) ... (click for more)

Lee Men's Soccer Picked Third In Preseason Poll

Gulf South Conference coaches have the Lee men's soccer team placing third behind West Florida and Auburn Montgomery (AUM) in their preseason poll, but that is something Flames' Coach Derek Potteiger says never enters his mind. "If somebody else doesn't tell me, I wouldn't even know where we are picked. Preseason polls: national, conference, or otherwise, mean nothing to me. We ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Couple Shot In Hixson As They Lay In Bed Early Thursday Morning

Chattanooga Police said two people were shot early Thursday morning as they lay in bed at their residence in Hixson. At 1:30 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a shooting at 4900 Lavender Trail. Police were advised that two people suffering from non-life threatening injuries had driven themselves to a local hospital for treatment. They were a man 22 and a woman 26. ... (click for more)

Biden Administration Announces $25 Million for Wilcox Bridge, $14.6 Milllion To Dunlap For Highway 127 Intersection Improvement

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Thursday announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded $63 million to support three projects in Tennessee from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program to help move forward on projects that modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation and ... (click for more)


A City In Search Of A Symbol - And Response

Assurances have been given of a much larger and varied utilization of the 141-acre former Wheland Foundry/U.S. Pipe site, not merely a new stadium for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Discussion of the proposed new stadium for Chattanooga has dominated the use of the dormant site. Additional usages of the property itself as well as “ripple effects” of the development intentionally move ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Freaks Of College Football

It has been almost 20 years since Bruce Feldman, a marvelous sportswriter for theathletic.com and Fox Sports, came up with the idea of identifying the “Freaks” of college football. Wait, being called a freak is a good thing, a very good thing, on a football team. It means you are so strong or so fast or so “athletic” that your own teammates and coaches stand in awe, be it in the ... (click for more)