A new Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) ballpark would revitalize a dormant area near downtown and bridge the gap to the gentrifying Germantown neighborhood, according to local politicians presenting the plan.
A new ballpark would be built at the former Sulphur Dell site, currently used for parking and other light-industrial uses. It’s part of a large expanse of land between the government buildings in downtown Nashville and the Germantown neighborhood. Sulphur Dell, of course, was the former home to professional baseball in the city, back in the days of the Nashville Vols and the Southern Association.
Bridging those two areas is a prime reason why Sulphur Dell is a good location for a new Sounds ballpark. As stated, it’s in the midst of some light industrial and would impact some local neighborhoods with traffic and parking. Being 14 feet below grade (putting light poles some 86 feet above street level) would cut down on light pollution.
Mayor Karl Dean’s administration is in negotiations with state officials about a proposed transfer of land from the state to the city. Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said the administration hopes to take legislation to the Metro Council in the next few weeks.
But the financing details of the approximately $40 million stadium remain fuzzy more than two months after the proposed ballpark became public. Responding to a question from the audience, Riebeling said the Sounds would make “a deep financial commitment” and “have skin in the game,” but he didn’t offer details. He said discussions with the Sounds were ongoing.
In the first of what Metro Planning Department official Doug Sloan said would be a series of community meetings about the proposal, participants also asked about the impact on neighboring Germantown, the prospect of flooding, mass transit plans and noise from the nearby railroad. While the meeting area was hot and noisy, with blasts of feedback periodically overwhelming speakers’ voices, the crowd of elected officials, baseball fans, bureaucrats and residents listened intently throughout the 51-minute presentation.
The financing will be the key to this project. On the one hand, Nashville is a boom town; downtown is healthy and there are several neighborhoods, besides Germantown, on the rise, like the Gulch. But we wouldn’t call Nashville a rich town quite yet, so the Sounds will undoubtedly be required to come up with some serious rent and cash.
Images courtesy of Populous.
RELATED STORIES: Developer already anticipating Sulphuer Dell ballpark site; Key to new Sounds ballpark: Significant contribution from team owners; Nashville mayor: No financing plan yet for Sulphur Dell ballpark; Nashville: Bring baseball back to Sulphur Dell; 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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