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New Nashville Sounds ballpark moves forward

Proposed Nashville Sounds ballpark

A new Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) ballpark moved one step closer to reality after the Metro Council voted twice to approve the financials.

The funding plan for the new Sounds ballpark calls for the city to pay $37 million in construction costs, plus $23 million for land and $5 million for capitalized interest. The team would commit to, but not contractually be obligated, to spend $60 million on a residential/commercial development near the ballpark; $750,000 in annual property tax payments would help pay down ballpark debt. The latest issue: a bill that would require the Sounds ownership, led by developer Frank Ward, to pay Metro $750,000 a year if Ward did not follow through with the residential/commercial development near the ballpark. That criticism was blunted when Ward offered a guarantee to begin construction by February 2016. From The Tennessean:

The most recent votes came after a public hearing on a single, specific bill that became a proxy for the whole plan and a spirited but unsuccessful attempt to force the Sounds’ owners to pay up if the mixed-use development they’re planning near the ballpark doesn’t arrive soon after the stadium….

The council voted 28-7 for a $65 million bond issue to cover construction, land acquisition and interest costs. Council members also approved several other pieces of legislation related to the ballpark deal, including a revision of the city’s capital improvements budget, which needed the support of two-thirds of the council and passed by a 30-2 count on the only required vote.

The council is scheduled to take the third and final votes on the other key provisions of the deal Dec. 10.

Gail Kerr comes out in favor of requiring some sort of guarantee from the Sounds.

RELATED STORIES: Nashville: We want to make sure there’s development with new Sounds ballpark; Nashville: We’ll save money building st Sulphur Dell; Nashville acquires land for new Sounds ballpark; Nashville contribution to new Sounds ballpark development: $65M; Nashville, Sounds reach agreement on new ballpark; Politicos: New Sounds ballpark would revitalize city core; 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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