County Commission Discusses South Broad Stadium Funding

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — “Am I for development? Absolutely. Am I for taking a risk with taxpayers’ dollars? Absolutely not,” said County Commissioner Tim Boyd.

Boyd is expressing concern about the South Broad Lookouts Stadium Project.

Boyd says he believes unknown factors could leave taxpayers on the hook for the project’s bonds at some point during the thirty year financing plan.

“I just don’t want the taxpayers guaranteeing bonds based on hypotheticals looking into thirty years — we don’t even know what’s going to happen in two or three years,” said Boyd.

But Chairman Sabrena Smedley says investors are already considering business around the site.

“We’re already attracting other investors to Hamilton County. I think that’s key information,” said Smedley.

“There have been a substantial number of calls of people who are already interested, who have built around stadiums in in other developments in other cities, that are seeing what we’ve been trying to do and have been reaching out,” said County Commissioner Ken Smith.

Mayor Jim Coppinger said the unknown variables may actually be economically beneficial.

“We could be wrong and it develop faster than we think it’s going to develop, and we pay that debt off quicker, and we’ve done that. This Commission has approved PILOT’s and TIF agreements before that have been extremely advantageous to this county,” said Mayor Coppinger.

Commissioner Randy Fairbanks pointed out similar skepticism existed before the Tennessee Aquarium was built.

“‘The last thing we need here is a fish tank. Why do we need a fish tank?’ The results — you see what the results are,” said Fairbanks.

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