‘Timing couldn’t be more perfect’ Knoxville City Council to discuss next step in proposal for Old City baseball

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon expects to be talking baseball at the city council meeting on December 15.

At issue is a discussion on forming a sports authority – a coalition that would oversee the development of a sports facility should one be approved by city council. Forming one would be a swing toward a home run on bringing the Smokies into town.

City and county leaders are sharing their thoughts on the early discussions with the Tennessee Smokies baseball team.

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon also released a statement on Monday:

“We are excited to continue to have conversations with the Tennessee Smokies baseball team and Knox County leaders about the possibility of bringing baseball to Knoxville. We are still early in our discussions, and forming a Sports Authority is a step that that we can take now to leave options open for financing a potential stadium. We anticipate this item will be discussed at City Council’s December 15th meeting. I know many Knoxvillians are eager to bring baseball back to Knoxville, and so am I. I look forward to more public discussions about this in the near future.”

Mayor Indya Kincannon

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs also released a statement on Monday about the creation of a sports authority:

“Working with the City to create a Sports Authority is the first step in a long process. We look forward to advancing conversations with the Tennessee Smokies baseball team as we believe the entire project will bring value to Knox County—from tourism, to business development and sales tax revenue.”

Randy Boyd, the owner of the Tennessee Smokies, released a statement on Monday regarding the formation of a sports authority:

I am appreciative of the city and county leaders considering this opportunity. I truly believe this could be the most transformative project in our community’s history and be a catalyst for growth for decades to come. Emerging from a pandemic, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Randy Boyd

Currently, the Smokies baseball team plays at its facility in Kodak, Tenn.

In August, Smokies owner Randy Boyd released renderings of the Knoxville stadium. Boyd described the project as a public-private partnership, with Boyd donating the land and bringing the team plus private investment of $140 million. The public, or taxpayer, portion would be about $65 million.

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