CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Many Chattanooga and Hamilton County officials are confident in their plan to finance the South Broad Lookouts Stadium project, which would require bond payments of one point five million dollars from the county and the city.
“We feel confident that we have prepared a pretty conservative outlook of the amount of investment that would be required in order for us to be able to safely and securely finance the stadium,” said Jermaine Freeman, Economic Development for the City of Chattanooga.
But some such as county commissioner Tim Boyd and County Mayoral Candidate Weston Wamp have expressed concern that taxpayers could be on the hook for
the seventy-nine million dollar stadium if expectations of return on investment are not met.
“Let’s just get the county and the city taxpayers out of the picture, and let these developers build the ball stadium if they think that’s the catalyst for their development down there, and let them assume all the risk,” said County Commissioner Tim Boyd.
Commissioner Tim Boyd is proposing an alternative financing plan in which the property would still be placed under a tax increment financing district, providing new revenue to the public school system, but the developers and the Chattanooga Lookouts would take on the responsibility of paying off the bonds.
“Let them build the stadium, and let the tax dollars that’s already been promised go ahead and pay toward the bonds, and ensure in that agreement that the Lookouts pay a minimum of a million dollars a year toward the interest and principle on the thirty year bonds,” said Boyd.
County Mayor Jim Coppinger released a statement addressing criticisms of the proposed financing agreement, saying that not one penny of existing tax dollars will go to fund the stadium, and that it could generate up to one billion dollars in new investments.