KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Smokies owner and University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd has thrown his first pitch for bringing the Smokies to downtown Knoxville.
In a statement, Boyd said, “Since 2000, the Tennessee Smokies have enjoyed many successful seasons at Smokies Stadium and a positive, productive relationship with Sevierville and Sevier County. We appreciate that they have provided a “home” for professional baseball in our region.”
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Boyd’s plan includes a $142 million mixed-use stadium complex that would be modeled after Chicago’s Wrigleyville. Under the proposal, Smokies’ ownership would commit to up to six events and tournaments with other teams to bring people to the park, according to the Sentinel.
As it has been stated previously, Boyd Sports would entertain an offer to locate the Smokies in Knoxville.
According to the statement from Boyd, Smokies leaders have met informally with public officials and community members to hear input on the idea. Yet, any initiative for public consideration of a plan would come from city and county leaders.
“Regardless, we will want to develop the property into something that can be a catalyst for growth and a point of pride for East Knoxville,” said Boyd.
Officials from the City of Knoxville & Knox County weigh in
According to a spokesperson with Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon’s office, city leadership, specifically Knoxville’s Chief Economic and Community Development Officer Stephanie Welch has met with Boyd about the baseball stadium concept.
“We are evaluating the different approaches cities have taken to support sporting venues with public financing. We are excited about exploring the opportunity with other partners. Community-wide support and buy-in will be critical to any public-private partnership. Currently, there is no definite timeline on when such a partnership might be formalized.”Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon’s Office
A spokesperson for Knox County, Mike Donila said that both mayors have met with Boyd earlier on to go over his conceptual plans.
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs supports bringing back baseball, but according to Donila, the mayor says at this point all it is at the moment is a concept.
“It would be premature to talk, also right now about the cost or how to fund such a project if it became a reality.”Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ Office
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