KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The recently-formed joint city-county Sports Authority Board met on Tuesday as progress continues towards the approval of a $74.5-million multi-use stadium project in Knoxville’s Old City.
At the meeting, two new committees were created. The first was a construction oversight committee. “Projects can have challenges, but the reality is there shouldn’t be surprises,” said the Sports Authority Chairman, Alvin Nance.
Nance said the construction oversight committee is key to protecting the city, the county and it’s taxpayers from any unknowns. “I think we need to fully understand whether or not those projects are on time, are they meeting the schedule that was put before us and we need to know before there is a major issue that if there’s things starting to happen that could lead to a major issue on the project,” he said.
WATE 6 On Your Side also spoke with Nance about the recent price increase for the complex in Knoxville’s Old City. It was originally set with a $65 million price tag and was recently upped to $74.5 million. Nance said the price changed because of building materials being more expensive.
However, Nance also explained that taxpayers shouldn’t feel the increase sting because the annual debt owed went down. “That benefit of lower construction costs, lower interest rate costs then lowered the amount of money the city and the county would actually be responsible for in bond payments,” Nance explained.
Another motion made at Tuesday’s meeting involved the creation on internships and ensuring minority-owned businesses were incorporated.
Rosalyn Tillman of the Sports Authority Board said it’s all about keeping those groups a priority. “The mindset has to be from the very beginning to do the work, not well we should have done that,” said Tillman. “No, we should do it now.”
Members of the Sports Authority Board are hoping to send the project to a vote on the City and County level by the end of October.
Renderings show the stadium itself would holding between 7000-7500 seats. The multi-use portion of the stadium was also on full display in the drawings. The complex would be used for Smokies baseball and potentially One Knoxville Sporting Club. There is also the potential to host between 200-300 events every year, ranging widely in size. One scenario includes a concert and 15,000 fans.