The Nashville Sounds minor league baseball team and the City of Franklin have begun what a city official there called “very, very informal” conversations about moving the Sounds to affluent Williamson County.
Franklin Mayor Tom Miller told The City Paper Tuesday he has met twice with Sounds General Manager Glen Yaeger about the idea of Nashville’s baseball team moving its operations to his city.
“I have said all along if the Sounds called I would answer the phone,” Miller said. “And, I have answered the phone.”
Miller said he had met with Yaeger twice to discuss the idea, though called those conversations “very, very informal.” He added no dollar amount had been discussed, adding there was some inherent skepticism about the idea of bringing a professional sports facility to town.
“It’s really too early to tell,” Miller continued. “Like the general public, I have heard the stories about sports facilities coming in and costing hundreds of millions of dollars. …I think they (the Sounds) are exploring every option. If I were them, I would be talking to every suburban city around Nashville.”
Last week, Yaeger told The City Paper that Miller had not contacted him “specifically about building a ballpark in Franklin.”
“[Miller] made a very public statement about two months ago where he said if the Sounds call us, he’d answer the phone,” Yaeger said. “And, at that time, I called him and reiterated exactly what our position is. And that is that we’re going to kind of hunker down here for the next couple months, finish out the season, see what happens [with the Metro] elections and try to get something downtown — because that’s our preference, and if something doesn’t happen, then we will look to the surrounding counties as a viable option.”
One possible development synergy the Sounds could capitalize on in Franklin, according to sources, is available land off the McEwen Drive interchange at Interstate 65 near the headquarters for Nissan North America, Inc. in the Cool Springs area.
“My assumption and nobody has told me any differently, that a venue like a sports facility would need to be on the Interstate 65 corridor and near an interchange,” Miller said. “There is vacant land near the vicinity of the McEwen interchange. That would meet my lay person’s criteria.”
The Nashville Post Web site reported yesterday architectural firm HOK has sued the Sounds for not compensating the company for the work it did for the downtown ballpark project between the baseball team, Metro and Baltimore developer Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse that collapsed this April. The company is seeking $723,862 plus $78,954 interest.