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Ground Broken on Stadium Project: $480 M Economic Impact, Connecting Downtown and East Knoxville 
On a pleasant and breezy Tuesday morning in mid-June, a large and diverse group gathered to officially break ground on the City- and County-owned multi-use stadium, just east of the Old City.

There were souvenir baseballs, and boxes of Cracker Jack. Tennessee Smokies owner Randy Boyd sported a baseball jersey. Attendees were treated to new renderings of what the stadium will look like, while they gazed across the construction site and tried to envision where home plate, the outfield walls and the grandstand will be.

But as every speaker at the June 13, 2023 ground-breaking ceremony made clear: The stadium project is about more than baseball, or professional soccer, or a new festival and concert venue.

It represents new economic opportunity in East Knoxville and redevelopment of an area that has suffered from decades of disinvestment.

"We are here to celebrate the revitalization of an area that has been neglected for decades, an area that soon will be graced with beautiful public plazas, lively walkable streetscapes, and vibrant new businesses," Mayor Indya Kincannon said.

The $114 million publicly-owned multi-use stadium is expected to host hundreds of events each year, beginning in early 2025.

An independent analysis estimated that the total economic impact of the publicly-owned stadium and surrounding private development in East Knoxville will be $480 million, with more than 400 full-time jobs created.

East Knoxville neighborhoods and families will benefit economically, as well as enjoy quality-of-life new amenities.

"We are here to celebrate a vital connection from downtown to East Knoxville, made possible by the stadium itself and $14 million in City-funded infrastructure improvements," Mayor Kincannon said at the stadium groundbreaking. "We are here to celebrate hundreds of new jobs and a total economic impact of close to half a billion dollars over 30 years."

Kincannon and others noted that the new public-private investment is being made in the area that experienced Knoxville's first Urban Renewal project, the Riverfront-Willow Street Project. That project six decades ago corrected flooding problems, it also wrongly displaced hundreds of Black businesses and residences.

"We honor those who came before us, including the people who lived and worked in the Bottom, a predominantly Black neighborhood that flourished here before Urban Renewal," Kincannon said.

Reinvesting in the area and reconnecting to nearby neighborhoods is a step toward repairing the damage and displacement done 60 years ago, the Mayor and other speakers said.
Posted by evreeland On 30 June, 2023 at 11:22 AM