KINGSPORT — City leaders want to know more about what it’s going to take — and what it’s going to cost — to build a minor league baseball stadium at Brickyard Park.
To get those answers, they’re turning to the professionals.
Kingsport is considering building such a facility at the old General Shale property off Industry Drive.
During a Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting earlier this month, city leaders approved a $95,000 contract to hire a consulting firm — Sterling Project Development of New York — to conduct a feasibility study on the new stadium. SPD is a real estate advisory firm that’s affiliated with the New York Mets.
ABOUT THE PROCESS
“This is a process we’ve gone through in the past with projects like the transit center,” explained Chris McCartt, assistant city manager for administration. “We bring in an architectural engineering firm, and they go through an initial design phase with information about the scope of the project and what our goal is at the end of the day.”
What Sterling will come back with in about three months is how much the project is going to cost to meet that goal, along with some initial sketches on what the stadium, the pedestrian bridge and an extended Martin Luther King Jr. Drive would look like.
The feasibility study would also look at the property north of Brickyard Park, land that’s been earmarked for private development. At one point, someone floated the idea of using it for residential. A pump track and walking trail — other ideas for the vacant Brickyard Park property — will not be included in the feasibility study.
“We’ll be able to take that document back to the BMA and show them what we’re looking at, where would be the best position of the stadium and then anticipated cost,” McCartt said.
A completed feasibility study will also open up some doors for Kingsport in terms of grant funding, public/private partnerships and talks with CSX about building a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks.
Building a minor league baseball stadium near downtown Kingsport across from Brickyard Park is now the main focus of the One Kingsport initiative. It essentially takes the place of the outdoor venue idea and expands upon it.
Not only would the new stadium be used by the Mets during the summer season, but it could also be used year-round for a variety of events, including concerts, festivals, Fun Fest and local baseball games.
Information provided to the BMA shows a 3,500- to 4,500-seat stadium at Brickyard Park with an estimated cost of $12 million.
“The facility will be much more than just a baseball stadium. If we’re only playing baseball there, we’re not achieving the goal we’ve been tasked with,” McCartt said.