Officials break ground for East Knoxville stadium

Jay FitzDowntown

Construction is officially underway for the $114 million multi-purpose stadium that will bring baseball back to East Knoxville after 25 years.

Community leaders gathered June 13 at the stadium site on the edge of the Old City for a short program with speakers that included Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon; Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs; Dr. Charles Lomax, president and CEO of Knoxville Area Urban League; the Rev. Reneé Kesler, president of Beck Cultural Exchange Center; and Randy Boyd, owner of Boyd Sports.

The stadium will be funded with $65 million in local government bonds; $13.5 million state grant; $2.5 million investment earnings on bonds and state grant; $13 million payment from Boyd; and a loan from Boyd up to $20 million to Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) to be transferred to the Sports Authority for construction.

Kincannon called the collaborative project a “win-win public-private partnership that truly puts the interests of the community first.

“This venue for professional baseball, soccer, festivals and concerts will greatly enhance the quality of life for Knoxville residents and the experience of visitors to our city.

“Outside the stadium, there will be new public plazas and streets vibrant with new businesses. Remember, this is a space that has been dormant for decades. This public-private investment represents new jobs, East Knoxville redevelopment and game-changing wealth-building opportunities. The total economic impact of this project will be close to half a billion dollars over 30 years.”

Jacobs, also an early supporter of the stadium project, said, “It is exciting to be breaking ground on something that will be transformative for an area that has been in dire need of investment and development. I have no doubt the stadium will easily become the centerpiece of downtown and a destination for people around the region.”

Boyd Sports operates the Tennessee Smokies minor league baseball team, which will be renamed the Knoxville Smokies with plans to start the first season in the new stadium in 2025. One Knox SC of the United Soccer League (USL) also will call the multi-purpose stadium home.

“This stadium will provide a space and a purpose that brings people together and serves as a catalyst for growth,” Boyd said. “…We will connect East Knoxville with the Old City and rejuvenate an area to create positive change.”

The Sports Authority contributed to this article. Info:


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