When Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger supported efforts this year for a new stadium for the Chattanooga Lookouts baseball team, he says that what he was really excited about was the $1.5 billion in private development the facility was projected to bring with it.
"We're not just talking about a baseball field," he says. "It will jump-start economic development."
Whether it's Chattanooga or East Ridge, sports stadiums aren't just seen as stand-alone facilities, but rather are viewed by some as generators of a broad swath of economic activity. The new, multi-use $86.5 million Lookouts stadium was proposed for a 141-acre site of long-shuttered foundries in the emerging South Broad District of Chattanooga. Proponents saw it as a linchpin for reinvigorating a gateway into the Scenic City.