Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field shows model for success

The mayors of Knoxville and Knox County took a trip to visit Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps in Indiana. They discovered a city that had been reinvigorated by a new multi-use stadium.

WBIR Channel 10 has coverage of the trip that can be watched and read HERE with an excerpt below.

Parkview Field, which Fort Wayne owns, not only gave people a place to go but it triggered millions in additional development. The area includes a Courtyard by Marriott, a parking garage, apartments and retail/office space.

They’ve proved the stadium can be used for other things, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said.

Civic groups use it. It hosts wedding parties. Sometimes they show movies on the big screen. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have taken part in sleepovers on the field. It’s also hosted running events.

That is the same vision that Tennessee Smokies Baseball owner Randy Boyd has for Knoxville with a new multi-use stadium serving as an anchor for East Knoxville, the Old City and downtown. He envisions hundreds of events a year, including sports, concerts, festivals, farmers’ markets, business meetings and a stadium that is open during the day for lunch and strolls on the concourse.

The $65 million publicly funded stadium is under consideration by City Council and County Commission, which has authorized the formation of a Sports Authority that would handle financing and oversee construction. Boyd and his group of investors are putting together more than $100 million in private development that would include retail, restaurant, bar and residential spaces. A community component also is being developed to ensure the surrounding area benefits from the project.

The WBIR story noted the mayors’ reaction after the trip.

“We were there on the day of a farmers market, and it was very active and engaged, with people walking, milling about,” Kincannon recalled. “There were people using the walkway inside the stadium just as a walking track.”

Concessions are open during the day if someone wants to get something to eat, Henry said.

Jacobs liked how the stadium had large loading zones for events like concerts that require easy access for moving equipment.

Kincannon and Jacobs think a downtown stadium under James White Parkway could fuel new development to the east and north and burnish Knoxville’s appeal as a visitor destination.

It’s a big project with a big payback.

#BringBaseballBack to #Knoxville.