Hamilton County Approves South Broad Stadium Development

City to Cast Final Votes August 9

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Hamilton County has approved the development of the new Lookouts stadium on Chattanooga’s South Side.

But the approval didn’t come without a final round of deliberation.

In past meetings, questions have been raised about what happens if the TIF can’t pay off the bonds, but today’s argument surrounded what happens if the bonds are paid off too quickly. According to Jermaine Freeman, excess funds must be used within the TIF District, and it’s up to the industrial development boards to decide what to do with it.

“Does the county and city have the authority to retract or revoke the TIF at that point, and then those funds go into the general fund and then would be available for the county and city to decide how they’re spent?,” asked District 3’s Ken Smith.

“Yes. Both the city and county have the ability to amend,” said Freeman.

District 8’s Tim Boyd was the only Commissioner to vote against the stadium, citing his discomfort with leaving excess funding in the hands of people who will be appointed decades in the future.

“You have appointed boards — sports authority and the IDB — making all the decisions for taxpayers money. I got a real problem with people that aren’t accountable to the public controlling millions of dollars of taxes,” said Boyd.

Every other commissioner voted in favor of the project, and County Mayor Jim Coppinger is pleased with the culmination of years of effort and planning.

“You’ve taken a blighted area that has sat there for decades, unused, and you’re going to turn it into a really vibrant part of downtown Chattanooga and Hamilton County,” said Coppinger.

The stadium’s fate is now in the hands of the City, who will cast their final votes on the project next Tuesday.

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