Most of New Lookouts Stadium to be funded with Tax Increment Financing

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Chattanooga and Hamilton County are moving ahead with the plan to construct a new baseball stadium for the Chattanooga Lookouts off of South Broad Street.

“This is not about the stadium. This is about the 120 acres around the stadium, and the lift in public tax revenues that will be created with the anchor development, the catalytic development, of the stadium,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly.

The project is estimated to cost twenty million dollars, and ninety-six percent of that cost will be covered by a tax increment financing system, which diverts a portion of new property tax revenue back into the construction and maintenance of the project as the property value of the site increases.

“There’s been misinformation that we’re investing seventy million dollars in taxpayer dollars. No, we’re going to use the different mechanisms to be able to pay for it that come from the project itself, instead of the property tax,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.

The remainder of the new tax revenue is expected to total forty million dollars, and it will go into the public school system.

“Economic development and public education go hand in hand. The dollars that will come off this property that will go into our public education system — what that does is it minimizes the amount of money that taxpayers have to pay in property tax,” said Coppinger.

Four percent of the cost of new stadium will be covered by revenue generated by the Chattanooga Lookouts, who will rent the facility for one million dollars a year.

The remaining two percent will be split between the county and the city, each of which will contribute one point five million dollars, bolstered by a broadened sales tax base.

“What we’ve done is broaden — I use the term ‘the pool’ — of people, the areas, the businesses around, that can contribute to an event, a project of this nature,” said Tennessee State Senator Yusuf Hakeem.

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