City Industrial Development Board Gives Its Unanimous OK To Stadium Project As Backers Turn Out

Monday, August 1, 2022

With an overflow crowd of supporters of the $80 million Southside Stadium on hand, the city Industrial Development Board on Monday voted unanimously to send an Economic Impact Plan for the facility on to the City Council. 

The County Commission is expected to approve the project on Wednesday and the City Council the following Tuesday.

That will put into place the ability of a new city/county Sports Authority to issue $80 million in bonds for the project at the long-vacant U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site.

John Bradford, a former Lookouts usher who now takes photos at Lookouts game, said, "I cannot imagine Chattanooga without baseball."

He said from his time at the current AT&T Field, "I have seen what baseball does for a community. It's something we cannot do without."

Misty Bolt said the stadium "will have a big impact for our city." She said, "There are a lot of 'what ifs' on the project, "but if we don't get it that's the biggest what if."

Ann Weeks, longtime leader of the South Broad Street development group, said it will be "a transformative project at the city's gateway." She said visitors coming in from the west now see "graffiti-covered buildings. It's a blight. This is not the way to introduce our visitors to this community."

Realtor and developer Matt McGauley, who said he was also representing Lamp Post Properties, also was among those speaking in support.

Lookouts managing owner Jason Freier had a long presentation and fielded numerous questions during the lengthy meeting that was paused for a lunch break.

Mr. Freier said new community stadiums at Fort Wayne, Ind., and Columbia, S.C. have yielded extensive development.

He said the construction of the stadium would be bid out through the regular city policy.

Mr. Freier said many local subcontractors would get work.

Many in the audience wore YES on the Stadium" buttons. When there was a request for members of the audience to say if they were in support, no one stood up in opposition. 


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