Various groups weigh in about proposed downtown Knoxville baseball stadium project

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — People across Knoxville and Knox County are continuing to weigh in about a proposed baseball stadium project for the downtown area.

At this point, talks remain fluid, however the current proposal includes a $65 million baseball stadium.

The multi-use stadium would be the home of the Double A Tennessee Smokies baseball team as well as other activities for the community, including concerts, a farmers market, and other events.

Randy Boyd, owner of the Tennessee Smokies, is donating the land and said there is a $140 million private investment for development around the stadium.

RELATED STORY: City, county leaders hold joint workshop about downtown Knoxville stadium project

The Downtown Knoxville Alliance is just one group showing their support for the project, penning a letter this week to local leadership. The following letter was submitted on Monday:

“The Downtown Knoxville Alliance (DKA) understands that the City of Knoxville and Knox County will be evaluating the possibility of a multi-use facility that would house a baseball stadium as well as various sports activities, concerts and other public events. We believe this will have a tremendously positive impact on businesses in the downtown area and would continue to support the residential, retail and restaurant growth that we have seen over the last several years. DKA’s Board of Directors has voted unanimously to support this proposed project and recognizes the overall benefit it brings to downtown and the surrounding area.  We continually focus on attracting and retaining a thriving community of residents, businesses and visitors in downtown, and we know this project will help meet that goal. The Downtown Knoxville Alliance is a nonprofit formed in 1993, which covers .67 miles of downtown’s core. Ensuring a vibrant, flourishing downtown is the primary mission of DKA. We are supported by a special assessment from property owners that is used to make improvements, enhance services and promote downtown. This project benefits the City of Knoxville and Knox County by improving a currently blighted area and will provide a great catalyst for future growth, which will increase property and sales taxes. Thank you for the opportunity to voice support for this project.”Letter submitted by the DKA to city and county leadership.

On Thursday, several community groups also penned a letter to city and county leadership, asking for transparency during the process for the stadium.

That letter is included below:

“An open letter to: the Mayor of Knoxville, the Knoxville City Council, the Mayor of Knox County, the Knox County Commission, Randy Boyd, the Tennessee Smokies, and the Public. We, the undersigned organizations, propose that more time be given to allow the community to be involved in further discussions surrounding the baseball stadium project. Our organizations include residents from the surrounding neighborhoods, labor unions, community groups, business owners, and non-profits. Open, public discussion about the Sports Authority would benefit from the inclusion of our members and the public at large. We hereby formally request that the Sports Authority include representatives from our organizations. We request transparency and public accountability during the negotiations of this proposed project. Our respective memberships, which include a wide variety of individuals with many unique interests and skills, represent many voices concerned about the public interests in this project. We have the knowledge and expertise to discuss and bring important perspective to this public decision. Our inclusion will allow this discussion to occur in a way that protects the various stakeholders and their respective interests. Our input is vital to the success of any proposed baseball stadium. Thank you for your time. We look forward to your response.”

The letter above was signed by the Alliance House Community Coalition, Appalachian Voices, City Council Movement, Democratic Socialists of America – Knoxville, Interfaith Worker Justice of East Tennessee, Knox Liberty Organization, Knoxville Anti-Racist Action Brigade, Rescue and Restoration, Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment (SOCM) and United Campus Workers, UTK Chapter.

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