Groundbreaking Held For New Nashville Sounds Ballpark
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Monday was a big day for Music City baseball. Mayor Karl Dean and the Nashville Sounds broke ground at the $150-million Sulphur Dell Ballpark on the north side of town.
"Next year Nashville baseball will return home here to Sulphur Dell," said Nashville Sounds owner Frank Ward to cheers.
During the next year, construction crews will turn an area of parking lots, greenway and unused land into a mix-use space of shopping, restaurants, parking garages and the anchor of it all, the new Nashville Sounds ballpark.
The ballpark will sit in the center of what is now 4th Avenue North between Jackson Street and Harrison Street, just east of Bicentennial mall.
"Not only was this the only feasible option, but as a baseball fan who also loves history, I really felt that no site was mores special here at Sulphur Dell, the historic home of baseball in Nashville," said Mayor Dean.
Renderings of the proposed plan were revealed late last year.
In December, Metro Nashville Council approved construction of the stadium, which has a $65-million price tag.
Baseball in this area is not new; originally this was home to a Negro league before the old stadium was demolished in 1969.
"We're back to Sulphur Dell where it all started, where things are needed and things will happen. it's an encouraging sign and one more stake in the ground for minor league baseball," said Minor League Baseball treasure Pat O'Conner.
The ballpark is expected to open in time for the 2015 season.
"We have a solid base of baseball fans here who agree with me that sitting back listening to the crack of a bat is one of the best ways to spend a warm summer night," said Dean.
The construction is causing three state parking lots near Bicentennial Mall to close. A fourth will close next month.
State employees are now having to park at LP Field and take a shuttle into downtown. The shuttles will run continuously in the mornings and afternoons, and every 15 minutes during the midday to various state buildings around downtown.
The Tennessee Department of General Services, which handles employee parking, told employees they can use the Nashville MTA to Music City Station, which is near many state buildings.
Monday there were some complaints about the temporary parking changes, but some said it'll be worth it in the long run.
"I think most of the people are in support of the ballpark. It's partly an issue of what's going to have to be done in the mean time to make that ballpark real," said Joseph Huertas, who works for the Department of Children's Services.
In exchange, Metro will build a 1,000 space parking garage near the new stadium and eventually an underground garage for the planned Tennessee State Library and Archives building.