After the Knoxville Smokies left Knoxville in 2000 to move into their current Smokies Ballpark, the city of Knoxville is now looking to get the team back with a brand new ballpark.
The new ballpark is part of a Old Town Knoxville upgrade that is expected to cost $142 million. The new ballpark is projected to cost $65 million. The Tennessee governor, Bill Lee, added $13,5 million to his 2021-2022 administrative budget as part of a funding plan for the projected ballpark.
The new ballpark for the Smokies would be the economic spark plug for the mixed-use development, featuring 630,000 square feet of residential, restaurants and retail in the neighbourhood that will surround the ballpark. The earliest the new ballpark could open is 2023.
Not only the state funding will finance the ballpark. Also a 1.5% sales tax in the surrounding area of the projected ballpark will contribute to the financing.
But the nothing is engraved in stone yet as a commission of seven Knoxville citizens must investigate if the construction and funding of the new ballpark is feasible. What surprises yours truly as a European is that the club would leave a ballpark after only 21 years. Kind of a waste of money if you’d ask me.