Baseball stadiums change a community’s landscape. Let’s take a look.

The design of ONEOK Field, the home of the Tulsa Drillers in Oklahoma, reflects back to the early part of the century as Tulsa’s downtown began to take shape and art deco informed the appearance of buildings. The 5,500-seat ballpark offers 30 suites, a 360-degree concourse and a variety of areas for groups and kids.

Populous knows how to pack a park

Populous doesn’t just design stadiums. It finds a way to overlay the stadium into the fabric of the surrounding community.

When Randy Boyd, owner of the Smokies baseball team, needed a design concept for a proposed stadium in Knoxville, the Kansas City-based firm got the call.

Populous and its senior director and global principal, Bruce Miller, have a minor league baseball history in Tennessee, too. Miller was behind Populous’ push for the new stadium in Nashville, and he also played a key role in getting AutoZone Park built in Memphis. For added credentials, he spent time in Knoxville in the 1990s when the baseball franchise wanted to stay in town. That effort didn’t succeed – and Knoxville and Knox County get another turn at bat and the chance to bring baseball home now.

Miller talked to the News Sentinel in this detailed article that can be read HERE.

“We’re always looking for where the ballpark could have the most impact. How could it help spur development and cement the development momentum?” Miller said in the article.

In this case, a stadium in close proximity to downtown, would bridge the center city, including East Knoxville and the Old City. The proposed site on Jackson Avenue is less than a mile from the location of Bill Meyer Stadium where Knoxville fielded a professional team from 1956 to 1999.

The old stadium – which was demolished in 2003 – was named after Billy Meyer (1893-1957), a Knoxville native who was a catcher for the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Athletics and a longtime minor league skipper. He also managed the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1948-1952.

A new stadium would return baseball to Knoxville and revitalize an area that has long been neglected and currently consists of mostly rundown buildings and vacant lots.

Populous has provided the vision. It’s up to us to make it reality.