The Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) extended their Greer Stadium lease through 2016, but talks with the city for a new ballpark have ground to a halt.
Both sides admit there have been no talks about a new ballpark since the Sounds released a viability study in December 2011, which laid out several options for ballpark sites. Since then, the city has basically pulled the riverfront sites off the table, leaving Sulphur Dell as the remaining city-endorsed site, according to Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling. While Sulphur Dell has a lot of sentimental appeal — it was the former home to baseball in the city — the economic-development aspect to that site is weak, and its chief appeal for the city appears to be the fact land acquisition would be the simplest. The East Bank site, however, would have the biggest potential economic impact, replacing a metal recycling yard.
Riebeling, one of Dean’s top aides, said the three-year lease would give the Sounds and the Pacific Coast League “some security.” But nothing has changed in the administration’s position about a new stadium. Dean is willing to entertain discussions, but the Sounds haven’t made a move to start any.
“It’s something we’d like to do, but it’s not a ‘have to do,’ ” Riebeling said Wednesday. “If it’s going to happen, it’s got to be a public-private deal. The window of opportunity for this administration, at least, is rapidly closing.”
John Triggs, an adviser to the Sounds’ owners, said they would approach the administration “when the time is right.”
The three-year extension is shorter than the five-year extension laid out in the lease; the team apparently wants some leverage when some serious discussions happen in the future.
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