Local lawmakers balk on Chattanooga Lookouts legislation

Local lawmakers balk on Chattanooga Lookouts legislation

May 1st, 2012 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

AT&T Field is the home stadium of the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

POLL: Should the city buy AT&T field?

NASHVILLE - A local bill enabling Chattanooga to potentially purchase AT&T Field won't be passing the General Assembly this year.

Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, R-Hixson, said he discussed the issue with House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Hixson, and the decision was made not to go ahead the legislation.

"It's just not going to run this year," Watson said.

The bill would allow the city issue state sales tax-funded bonds in order to buy the stadium. Current team owners, who also own AT&T Field, are trying to sell the Lookouts.

At issue is whether a potential buyer might be interested in buying the team but not willing to take on the additional cost of purchasing the stadium.

"I think they were looking at some potential strategies of how they might decouple the stadium from the team," Watson said, noting, "I really haven't been that close to it."

The bill envisioned the city issuing bonds to purchase the stadium and using state sales taxes on Lookout ticket sales, parking and concessions to help fund the bonds.

"It wasn't a priority for the city," Watson said, noting Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield's focus was on anti-gang legislation.