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Nashville: Bring baseball back to Sulphur Dell

Sulphur Dell Construction

Planning for a new Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) ballpark has shifted from the riverfront to the old Sulphur Dell site, as Mayor Karl Dean is now pushing a mixed-use development.

The Sounds has pursued a riverfront site for years as a replacement for Greer Stadium, though there was always sentimental support of the old Sulphur Dell location, where baseball was played since the 1860s. The last incarnation of Sulphur Dell opened in 1927 (as shown above) and closed in 1963, hosting Nashville Vols and Negro Leagues baseball. The drawback with the Sulphur Dell location: it’s small, though it was tagged as one of the three potential ballpark sites the last time Populous took a look at ballpark development in the city. But as most of a proposed site is controlled by the state, one big ballpark cost — land acquisition — could be solved right off the bat.

The $80-million plan calls for a $40-million ballpark, a $10-milion parking ramp and a $30-million privately financed residential development. The ballpark would open in time for the 2015 season. From The Tennessean:

Dean’s office could unveil the proposal as early as Sept. 12 at a state building commission meeting. The central component of the deal is 13 acres of state-owned property, and the commission would have to approve the land transfer. The deal also includes the acquisition of seven acres of private land….

Other details of the financing arrangement, including how much money would come out of taxpayers’ pockets, were not included in the document, which is dated August 2013.

A statement from Sounds general manager Brad Tammen said, “From the Sounds’ perspective, we can only reiterate at this time that we are very excited about the possibilities in Sulphur Dell. However, this entire undertaking is a work in progress and we will wait to see if the city and the state can come to an understanding. Hopefully that will happen and when it does, we very much want to be a partner in the building of a new stadium for Nashville. We believe Sulphur Dell is the next Gulch.”

The next potential step: the city could unveil the plan at a Sept. 12 state building commission meeting.

RELATED STORIES: Sounds extend Greer Stadium lease — but no new ballpark in sight; Sounds: We prefer East Bank for new-ballpark site; Nashville ballpark sites narrowed to three; Researching ballpark sites in Nashville; Nashville seeking community input for ballpark site; Nashville once again moving forward on new ballpark


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