KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville is now one step closer to a new multi-use stadium after a unanimous vote from the Knox County Commission to join an interlocal agreement with the Knoxville City Council and the City/County Sports Authority Board.
It’s a project that will change Knoxville in more ways than one, for that reason, District 1 Commissioner Dasha Lundy said she struggled to decide on whether or not to support it.
“It’s so difficult because of history. Having a majority minority community, we’re dealing with gentrification and all that stuff,” Lundy said. “I struggled with this for a long time, but I choose right now to be optimistic.”
The promise of good for the community outweighed the cons of this project, which is why Lundy ultimately voted yes on the interlocal agreement.
“This is the opportunity for us to build something together regardless of your race, your belief system, your wealth, that we can create something through a lens of equity,” Lundy said. “There are so many Black entrepreneurs that need to be elevated in district one and east Knoxville. I wanted to challenge myself to be a team player because I want to make sure that we’re very intentional about creating that Black wealth.”
Creating opportunities for the East Knoxville community and minority businesses is a goal shared by Tennessee Smokies owner — Randy Boyd.
“This is going to make a major impact in east Knoxville. First, there’s the jobs. We expect over 3,000 jobs part-time, full-time, over the next several years and beyond. We’ve got local businesses like Jackie’s dream that are going to be a part of the project at the very start. We’ve got minority businesses that are going to be a part of the construction and other development in the project. But mostly, I think beyond all that, this is going to connect east Knoxville to downtown like never before.”
It’s not a done deal yet. The interlocal agreement must be passed by the city council as well before it’s official. The vote is scheduled to take place Tuesday, but one city council representative is asking that the vote be postponed.
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Councilwoman Amelia Parker submitted a 21-page document containing her questions and concerns about the development and lease agreements to the city council and county commission for their review. She is asking for a postponement of the vote to give city and county leaders more time to make an informed decision.
The City council is set to vote on November 16. If passed, the agreement gives the Sports Authority the power to issue bonds for the stadium. City and county leaders would still have to approve certain incentives to ensure the private development surrounding the stadium.