New Baseball Stadium Could Revitalize Jefferson Street - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

New Baseball Stadium Could Revitalize Jefferson Street

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by Adam Ghassemi

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Most days one stretch of Jefferson Street smells like tailgating before a big football game. Frederick Waller hopes Ooh Wee Bar-B-Q, which he opened just a few months ago, becomes one of the smells of minor league baseball.

"I know that where people are you can do well in a business, especially a food business," he said.

It's a hope that moved closer to reality Monday when a subcommittee for the State's Building Commission heard why people think a new Sounds stadium could restart the area rich in history. They approved it unanimously.

The deal means the state will swap about 10 acres near Bicentennial Mall in exchange for a number of things, including $23 million from Metro to build new parking garages.

"A rebirth of a lively restaurant and nightlife scene in an area that has long been overlooked by the economic development taking place in our city," said Sharon Hurt with the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership.

State Senator Thelma Harper said the project will make Jefferson come full circle and its impacts will go far beyond the stadium's stands.

"We're looking at just little part of it, but it's going to impact all of Jefferson Street all the way down to TSU," Harper said.

The deal would bring Nashville baseball back to where it started and possibly people to a stretch of town that hopes they return.

"I really, really want that project to take shape," Waller said.

The plan is moving quickly to have the stadium built by the Sounds' 2015 season.

Meanwhile, the numbers are coming in for the proposal while the clock keeps ticking.

Metro leaders will put the project in the capitol improvements budget. That means an amendment needs to be made to the budget already approved earlier this year because of a $10-million difference.

The amendment would also need a 2/3 majority vote because it's a change in the capital budget during the same year. This issue could be on the agenda for the next Metro Council meeting, but if it's delayed, it could mean problems with the land deal with developer Embrey.

The deal must close by December 23rd of this year.

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