photo by Thea Marshall
Mayor Tim Kelly spoke to the Chattanooga Rotary Club Thursday morning on gun violence, but during the Q&A portion, curious citizens asked about the controversial stadium.
“It's a damn good deal for the taxpayers and if I’m wrong, vote me out,” said the mayor. “If I could put my own money into this I would.”
He said after three to five years the stadium will be paid off.
He said the Lookouts will pay $1 million a year in rent - the highest rent in Minor League Baseball with an escalator to keep up with inflation.
The speaker said the greatly enhanced property taxes from the 130 acres around the stadium helps pays for the debt service and principle on the original investment.
He was asked why officials cannot take a portion of the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District and dedicate it to schools. He responded by saying the portion of the TIF for schools is 100 percent untouched and is funding schools.
Regarding gun violence, Mayor Kelly said social media is often the spark. But he said he would approach this like a public health crisis. He said the main focus should be to address poverty.
He emphasized the $4 million being put towards community-rooted public safety investments are to expand “mentorship and job training to interrupt violence before it happens.”
He said next week he will be releasing a roadmap on how to further deal with gun violence in Chattanooga.