Nashville Mayor Karl Dean wants to build an $80 million ballpark for the Nashville Sounds downtown and says the old Sulphur Dell site makes the most sense from an economical and historical standpoint.
Located on Jackson Street, east of the Bicentennial Mall between Fourth and Fifth avenues, the site is the original home of Nashville's minor league team.
The ballpark was built in 1870 and used for nearly 100 years until 1963. It was eventually demolished in 1969.
The proposed project breaks down into $40 million for the ballpark, $10 million for a parking garage and $30 million for residential development.
In a news conference Friday morning, Mayor Dean said if his administration builds a stadium, it'll be at Sulphur Dell because the location makes the most sense for taxpayers.
Details of the financing plan weren't released but the mayor said of all the sites that were studied, Sulphur Dell is the only one that is "economically feasible" and in his opinion, the site that would generate the "biggest economic impact."
He also cited the history of Sulphur Dell, saying, "When you consider its significance in the history of north Nashville and the all-American sport of baseball, I can't imagine a more meaningful location to give Minor League ball a new home and generate new development along Jefferson Street."
Mayor Dean said the Sounds are happy with the proposed location and have been "extremely cooperative."
Sounds General Manager Brad Tammen told News 2 they are excited about the opportunity yet cautiously optimistic after plans for a downtown ballpark blew up in a big way a few years ago.
"We think with the tremendous growth in the Sulphur Dell area, that it is the next ‘Gulch', and we're real excited about the opportunities that are coming forward down there," Tammen explained.
In his news conference Friday, the mayor reiterated a statement from his office earlier this week that the plan is a work in progress.
"I can't stress this enough, we are still early in this process," he said.
While the hope is that the ballpark would open in time for the 2015 season, Dean, citing a complicated process involving both local and state government, said there is no "hard timeline."
Dean said neighborhoods around Sulphur Dell site have been supportive thus far. Metro Councilman At Large Jerry Maynard said he believes a new Sounds stadium would benefit the area.
"We have a lot of private investors going to do housing, commercial development, mixed use development and it's going to bring a spark to the area that we need, north of downtown and south of Jefferson Street. That's exactly what we need," Maynard said.
Thursday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said his administration would be willing to do a "land swap" with the city to acquire the land.
Haslam added, "We think the idea is very interesting. I think it's very preliminary as well, but if it's something we can do a partnership with them on, we will try to do that but there [are] a whole lot of steps between here and there."
If new stadium is built, Dean said the Sounds' current ballpark, Greer Stadium, which is part of the Metro parks system, will be used in someway.
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