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Staff photo by Olivia Ross / With the CFC season in full swing and several events on the schedule, Finley Stadium is "thriving" this fiscal year.

The Chattanooga FC soccer season is up and running, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga spring football game is set for Saturday, and a Kane Brown concert early next month is expected to draw 20,000 spectators.

It's safe to say things are humming these days on the Finley Stadium campus that also contains the First Horizon Pavilion and this weekend's opening of the Chattanooga Market, but would some of that change with a new and nearby home for the Chattanooga Lookouts?

"I've tried my best not to even think about that," Stadium Corp. board chairman Mike Davis said Tuesday afternoon. "Being in construction, I know what it's going to cost to build something over there and what it would cost to build this facility now, and, to me, I just see a lot of other things that could be done with that money.

"My focus is keeping the partners that we have so they'll stay here with us. I like the sound of 'Fort Finley,' and I like that UTC is playing football games here. I like that we have the Market, and I would love to have more concerts. I'm just trying to keep my focus here."

The proposed multiuse stadium for the Lookouts, which would include residential and commercial development and a significant sprucing of the 141-acre Wheland Foundry/U.S. Pipe site, has a cost of $86.5 million. That figure dwarfs the $28.5 million it took to construct Finley Stadium, a 20,412-seat facility which opened in October 1997.

During Tuesday's Stadium Corp meeting, Finley Stadium executive director Chris Thomas revealed solid financial numbers heading into the stretch run of this fiscal year. Thomas added that personnel staffing was finally back to pre-COVID levels, and he was borderline giddy when discussing the Brown concert set for May 7.

"This is the first concert of this magnitude in Chattanooga," Thomas said. "It is truly a special moment."

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Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Crowds have been solid so far for CFC matches at Finley Stadium, which is also set to host a major concert in the coming weeks.

Thomas wasn't alone in that discussion, with Davis adding, "Kane Brown wants to be here, and I think it's a great thing for Chattanooga."

Yet what happens down the road when a notable musical act has a choice between Finley Stadium and a new Lookouts facility and plays one venue off of the other for the best deal? What happens if a new Lookouts stadium is configured to have the ability to host soccer, thus putting future CFC games up for grabs?

"My hope is that it's a complementary effect," board member and former board chairman Gordon Davenport said. "I'm sure there would be some overlap and that hopefully we could work through that. As Chattanooga grows, hopefully there is plenty of room for all of us."

Communication would be key, Davenport stressed, should such a situation arise.

Another board member and former chairman, Ryan Crimmins, is all for more growth. After all, Finley Stadium is thriving and is slightly older than AT&T Field, the current home of the Lookouts.

"If a new stadium spurs development and the ownership is willing to put in money — it's a private enterprise, so they've got to have a lot of skin in that game — it's fine with me," Crimmins said. "We have had 147 events so far at Finley Stadium this year, so we're definitely realizing our full potential, but I think any kind of growth for Chattanooga is good.

"It's like the CHI (Memorial soccer) stadium out in East Ridge. That's good for the community. We're going to keep growing. Chattanooga is growing, and if there are events for a new stadium or an existing stadium, that's great. We're doing well, and we'll concentrate on being as good as we can be. We'll be fine."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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