Better late than never? Finley Stadium reactivated to allow fans for Chattanooga FC

Staff photo / The Chattahooligans cheer for Chattanooga FC before a home match against Detroit City FC on April 6, 2019, at Finley Stadium.

It may not have been a "release the hounds" or a "release the Chattahooligans" moment, but it was a start.

Stadium Corp. board members voted Tuesday afternoon to reactivate Finley Stadium, the 20,412-seat facility that has been closed to fans since March because of the coronavirus outbreak. The opening of Chattanooga's largest athletic venue would potentially allow for socially distanced audiences to see the Chattanooga Football Club soccer team vie against New Amsterdam FC on Aug. 29 and the New York Cosmos on Sept. 12.

The vote was not unanimous, and it transpired after Kerry Hayes, the chief of staff for Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, left the decision to the board after providing some cautionary numbers.

"There is still quite a bit of spread in our community, and the rolling average of active cases is starting to tick back up again," Hayes said on a Zoom call.