KINGSPORT — Kingsport's new softball/baseball complex could cost as much as $6.4 million to build, and if an optional, fifth field is added to the project, the total price could be bumped up another $1 million.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen got an update on the project last week, including these estimated costs, along with conceptual drawings of the site. The BMA also awarded the bid for the site work and approved a lease agreement with the Kingsport Economic Development Board for a portion of the property where the complex will be built.
Kingsport plans to build a new softball/baseball complex on a portion of the old General Shale property along Industry Drive to replace Eastman Chemical Co.'s ball fields on Wilcox Drive. When Eastman announced its $1.6 billion "Project Inspire" reinvestment plan last year, the plan called for a new corporate office building on the site of the company's ball fields.
Eastman has demolished the old field house and construction has started on its $74 million office building. The building is scheduled to be completed next year.
According to the conceptual plan, the sports complex will have four ball fields, in a wagon-wheel design with a centrally located two-story building for scoring, concessions and restrooms. Two of the fields will be 325 feet, one 350-foot championship field with terrace seating and a fourth field at 300 feet.
Assistant to the City Manager Chris McCartt said all of the fields would be skinned (no grass) with various locations to place the bases to provide for greater diversity. The two-story scoring tower was included to help the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau with tournament recruitment, McCartt said.
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