Chattanooga Lookouts stadium funding getting closer to reality

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Interstate 24 winds past the former U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site on June 14. Plans include a new stadium for the Chattanooga Lookouts as a centerpiece for redevelopment of the South Broad District area.

A Chattanooga panel on Monday unanimously agreed to send a financing plan for a new multiuse stadium to the City Council for its consideration, pushing the proposed project closer to reality.

But advocates for the nearly $80 million stadium and a special tax district to help fund the Chattanooga Lookouts facility on the rundown former U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site were peppered with questions about the project at a Chattanooga Industrial Development Board meeting.

Jimmy Rodgers, the panel's chairman, asked at the meeting what happens if the Lookouts minor league baseball team files for bankruptcy and can't make the $1 million or more annual lease payment over 30 years that's helping finance the stadium that would go between Interstate 24 and Broad Street.