Chattanooga residents respond to new stadium announcement
Mayor Jim Coppinger confirms former U.S. pipe site property will be site of new park, businesses
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced Wednesday that on Thursday, June 30 at 11 a.m., a press conference will be held regarding the future of the Wheland Foundry and old U.S. pipe site property.
He said over 100 acres will be developed for new office spaces, restaurants, retail stores and a new ballpark for both Chattanoogans and our Lookouts.
Coppinger says that “nine acres or less” would be dedicated for a new ballpark, but he wants to see it utilized year-round by the community for a wide range of events, similar to Finley Stadium’s recent Kane Brown concert.
He firmly believes only good will come from the development.
“I think this is a really important project to get across the finish line,” Coppinger said. “We’ve been working on this project since 2015. It is generational — I’ve heard that mentioned. For generations, people benefit from it.”
The property will boast more than just a new ballpark, as plenty of businesses will set up shop and help further serve Chattanooga’s growing population.
“I’m looking forward to the new restaurants that’ll pop up,” said Chattanooga native Jamie Mofsky. “I’m not a big boutique kind of shopper, but when it comes to restaurants, that’s something we really enjoy is just unwinding with friends of ours.”
However, not all residents are ecstatic about the project.
Local Navy veteran William Dittus says he’s glad to see Chattanooga growing and that its leaders are trying to improve the city.
But in terms of the Lookouts stadium, he’s pessimistic that the new experience will be an overall improvement.
“Do I think it’s going to be cheaper when they go down there? No,” Dittus said. “Do I think that they’re going to improve the parking down there? No. Am I glad to see that they’re cleaning up the old pipe plant? I guess.”
Mofsky has been a Chattanoogan for 56 years.
While she’s excited for the new park and the new businesses to come, she says it will be bittersweet when the final game is played at AT&T Field.
“I’m excited but a little bit sad because I do like the location we’re at right now,” Mofsky said. “But like I say, I’m excited because it’s going to rejuvenate that part of town.”
Former Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey compared the upcoming project to when Volkswagen was in negotiation with local officials.
He said what the company could bring to the community was “underrated” and that he was “glad we weren’t thinking negatively about what we CAN’T do with Volkswagen.”
Coppinger hopes for the same results moving forward in the former foundry.