Downtown Baseball

A proposal for an $18 million downtown multipurpose facility that would host Tennessee baseball games and high school football games isn't dead, but it appears to be on life support.

Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said a decision must be made within the next six weeks.

The facility would be located between Grand Avenue and Blackstock Avenue, near Interstate-40, close to 17th Street.

Local developers, hoping to revitalize the downtown area, are seeking a joint agreement with UT, city and county officials. It would cost about $18 million.

``We have an obligation and responsibility to at least listen,'' Hamilton said.

Hamilton said UT baseball would need about 135 dates for games and practices and another 25 days for baseball camps.

An upgrade of Lindsey Nelson Stadium has been put on hold pending funding. But if UT doesn't have the funds to renovate Lindsey Nelson, it doesn't have the funds to invest in a new baseball stadium.

If UT's baseball games are moved to the new stadium, UT's softball team would play at Lindsey Nelson.

The new project is closer to student housing. Hamilton said more than 1,000 students live in the Fort Sanders area. It would be farther away from fraternity housing.

The new facility would seat 8,000. It would vie to host the Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic high school football jamboree, a high school game of the week and concerts.

It is the third site that has been considered. The other two: Near the World's Fair and on the other side of Lake Loudoun about a quarter-mile West of the Henley Street Bridge.

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