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Knoxville ballpark funding, oversight moves forward

Proposed new Knoxville ballpark

A new Knoxville ballpark for the Tennessee Smokies (Double-A South) is moving forward, with funding included in a state budget proposal and the appointment of a city Sports Authority.

Governor Bill Lee included $13.5 million for a new downtown ballpark in his 2021-2022 administrative budget, part of a funding plan for a $65-million ballpark anchoring a proposed $142-million mixed-use development in Knoxville’s Old City area. That ballpark for the Smokies would be the economic fuel driving the mixed-use development featuring 630,000 square feet of residential, restaurants and retail in the ballpark vicinity. The earliest the new ballpark could open: 2023.

Besides the state contribution, the ballpark be funded by a 1.5 percent sales tax within a quarter mile of the ballpark, including all events within the ballpark itself. The sales-tax agreement is contingent on commitments for $100 million in investments in the ballpark area; Smokies owner Randy Boyd already was shooting for $142 million in investments.

Meanwhile, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs announced the appointment of seven citizens to a Sports Authority that will begin researching the funding and feasibility of a new ballpark. As noted, the ballpark would be leased to Boyd Sports and the Tennessee Smokies, but the facility would be designed to accommodate other sports and host hundreds of other non-baseball events each year, such as concerts or festivals. You can read the city’s press release on the appointment of authority members here.

Rendering courtesy Tennessee Smokies.

RELATED STORIES: Work could begin next fall on new downtown Knoxville ballpark; Boyd unveils vision for new Knoxville ballpark; Impact of Potential New Knoxville Ballpark: Beyond the FencesNew Downtown Knoxville Ballpark for Smokies Discussed

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