The poll was conducted in March and the results were released this week by the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Almost six in 10 Knox County voters polled say they are strongly or somewhat in favor of a new sports stadium east of Old Town, according to a statement from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors.
The poll was conducted in March and made public by KAAR in a statement dated Thursday.
City of Knoxville and Knox County leaders are backing land from entrepreneur and Tennessee Smokies team owner Randy Boyd to build a $ 65 million stadium near Jackson Avenue. The public stadium would house its Double A ball club and host other sporting and public events.
Various sources of money would pay for the construction, including collecting sales tax inside the park, state $ 13.5 million, and rental fees for the baseball team.
The goal for now is to open for spring 2023.
Hancel Sale, director of government affairs and policy at KAAR, said in a statement that the stadium would be a “transformative” project for which he appears to have overwhelming support.
Polling firm American Strategies conducted a survey March 21-23 among 400 registered voters in Knox County, according to KAAR. KAAR’s board of directors approves the stadium.
Participants were asked a variety of questions, ranging from their knowledge of the baseball team, now based in Sevier County, to their knowledge of the proposed project.
The minor league team once played at a stadium north of Magnolia Avenue in Knoxville, but moved about 21 years ago to Sevier County.
When asked if they would like to see the Smokies return to Knoxville, 63 percent said yes, 27 percent said no and 7 percent said it wasn’t important to them anyway.
There appears to be at least some knowledge about the project, according to the survey results.
Some 33 percent said they had heard about it; 27 percent responded “some”; and 19% said “a lot”. Twenty-one percent said they hadn’t heard of it.
During the survey, participants received a description of the proposal and were asked to respond.
The results: 30% said they were strongly in favor and 29% said they favored it somewhat. Seventeen percent said they oppose it somewhat and 23 percent said they strongly oppose it.
When asked about various aspects of the stadium, including how it would be used for more than baseball and how it would be open year-round, 68% of those polled said these factors made them much more likely or a little more likely to support he.
Support at the stadium appears bipartisan, with 65% of Democrats in favor versus 61% of Republicans. A majority of independents (53%) are also in favor of the project, according to the KAAR press release.
A new seven-member sports authority has started planning for construction and financing oversight. It meets later this month.
The Knoxville City Council and the Knox County Commission will also continue to influence the project.
Some community members objected, arguing that it is a waste of money while other better uses can be spent to help boost jobs and the quality of life in the area.