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

Combined efforts in meaningful measures in the state Legislature in Nashville are as common as four-leaf clovers and $2 bills.

So, like the random good-luck trinkets, let's treasure it when it happens.

Last week, Memphis Democrat Lee Harris and Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, co-sponsored a bill in the state House that would force local governments to get voters' approval before going forward with any project that would create a debt that equals 10 percent or more of the government's annual operating budget.

Wow, a group effort that crosses the aisle and gives the final say on potential back-scratching boondoggles to those of us who will be responsible for the bill long after Johnny Commission Seatholder has moved on. This is a stroke of common sense so inspired we think Mark Twain may have co-written the bill. Somewhere in the afterlife, Thomas Payne and Thomas Jefferson are high-fiving.

This makes too much sense on too many levels that it gives potential hope for future endeavors.

You want the city's help and bonds and funding for your new facility, make a case the people can get behind. You want the people's financial support, then show us what it means for the city. You want the taxpayer to pony up with public funds, then convince us how it benefits the rest of us.

Well-played, gentlemen. Well-played indeed, and this does not even approach the subject that it was a meeting in the middle of the two parties.

This type of simple brilliance — like zippers and that clipped thing that keeps a baby's pacifier on his or her shirt — is inspired and could be directly in line with what is potentially on the horizon here in Chattanooga.

Follow along.

The Chattanooga Lookouts are in the process of being sold. Current owner Frank Burke has been looking to get out for several years after building AT&T Field and making baseball part of the backdrop of Chattanooga's downtown rebirth.

It must be noted that Burke's vision and success were earned with the seeds of his own money. He built the ballpark and he reaped the reward. How novel an idea, huh?

Moving forward, the prospective buyers, local boy-made-good John Woods and Hardball Capital CEO Jason Freier, are awaiting approval from the various levels of professional baseball before their deal to buy the Lookouts can be completed. They have pledged to keep baseball in Chattanooga.

They also have a history of building new stadiums with significant help from local governments, and there have been whispers that in a few years, they would want new digs for the Lookouts, too, with considerable local backing.

Hardball Capital currently owns two minor league teams, and in each instance Hardball has played hardball in negotiations for city-aided new stadiums. Hardball got a new stadium built in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Hardball is selling luxury suites for a new stadium in Columbia, S.C., that should be ready for the 2016 season, and has filed paperwork to potentially move the Sand Gnats from Savannah to Columbia.

It's part of the sporting culture in today's landscape, where stadiums have a better chance to be obsolete in less than two decades.

The Atlanta Braves are moving to a new ballpark in Cobb County, which according to media reports has pledged more than $300 million — or 45 percent — toward the construction cost.

Would the Cobb County voters have approved that commitment? Maybe. The Braves are popular and there could be enough of a return on having Major League Baseball that you could make that argument.

Would Chattanooga voters support the city helping to fund a new home for the Lookouts in a few years?

Who knows, but the simple fact that the decision would rest with those of us paying the bill — the taxpayers — is certainly something to smile about.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6343. Follow him on Twitter at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

His "Right to the Point" column appears on A2 Monday, Thursday and Saturday, and his sports columns run Tuesday and Friday. Read his online column "The 5-at-10" Monday through Friday starting at 10 a.m. at timesfreepress.com.

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