by Ben Campbell
CHATTANOOGA, TN- Tuesday’s City Council meeting presented a good opportunity for UTC and Dr. Richard Brown, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations, to address the takeover of the historic Engel Stadium during the transfer period.
The University of Tennessee acquired the permission to use stadium from the Chattanooga Parks and Recreation back in 2004. The specific question at this meeting was if UTC would be able to begin renovations and other upkeeps during the waiting period for the transfer to complete.Click here to hear Dr. Brown lay out UTC’s plans.
“There have been numerous bureaucratic issues to deal with over the last couple of years but just last week we sent the actual deeds to Knoxville to be processed through the State Building Commission and it is my thought it will take 60-90 days to work through that process,” said Dr. Brown.
Since 2000 Engel had been used by local baseball teams and also played role in hosting the TSSAA playoffs up until their relocation to Murfreesboro, TN. “I used to play at Engel Stadium when I went Notre Dame and I found myself wondering if there would ever be a renovation of the stadium. It just had so much history and promise for future baseball in the community,” said Chattanooga Junior Josh McCutcheon.
After UTC received permission to use the stadium in 2004 there has been numerous developments. The university has put in 2 million dollars into the renovations and construction of the lacrosse and soccer fields in the areas surrounding the stadium.
Dr. Brown and UTC’s intentions are to keep the stadium intact because of its iconic history and importance to Chattanooga as a community. “The stadium will be used for inner-city baseball and other baseball services through the community,” said Brown. Also developments for new track and field facilities will begin in the coming months.
Engel Stadium has been a member of the Chattanooga baseball community since it’s opening in 1930, with legends like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron running its bases. As Dr. Brown stated in the Tuesday’s meeting, the university wants to restore Engel Stadium to its “old glory”.
The city council motioned to adopt this request, and grant UTC full access to Engel Stadium during the transfer period of the property. This topic was not supposed to be addressed till the coming week but Dr. Brown and UTC were ready to get the ball rolling.