Batter up: New Survey says play ball

Does Knoxville want a new multi-use stadium? The unequivocal answer is yes.

A poll commissioned by the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors (KAAR) and conducted by nationally respected firm American Strategies indicated nearly 60 percent of registered voters in Knox County are in favor of the proposal to build a new stadium on the edge of the Old City in East Knoxville.

Stephanie Welch, the city’s chief economic and community development officer, said the poll will inform future decisions on the project. “It tells me that our planning for a multi-use stadium is heading in the right direction,” she said.

The Compass

The KAAR board had used the results of the poll to offer its unanimous endorsement of the project, which will bring a publicly owned stadium and millions in private development to a neglected area bordered by Jackson Avenue and Willow Street.

The full story by the Compass’ Scott Barker can be read HERE.

Hancen Sale, government affairs and policy director for the Knoxville Area Realtors Association, noted in the story that the area surrounding the stadium also will benefit from the project. The proposed development is within one-half mile of Austin Homes, which initially was built in 1941. Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) is razing the old structures and building a 400-plus-unit affordable housing complex.

“We shouldn’t gloss over the fact that this project is also a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create the sort of mixed-income neighborhoods that research consistently shows is critical for promoting upward income mobility and access to economic opportunity,” Sale told Barker. “Substantial public investment in close proximity to existing affordable (housing) should be the model.”

The poll also indicated bipartisan support for the new stadium with Democrats at 66 percent; Republicans, 61 percent; and independents, 53 percent.

Batter up, Knoxville. Let’s do this.