Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Cookeville To Commit Another $3 Million For Tech Stadium

Cookeville City Council will vote Thursday on a request from Tennessee Tech to commit an additional $3 million for the school’s Tucker Stadium renovation project.

City Manager James Mills said the city has paid some $400,000 thus far on a $1 million agreement the city made in 2022. He said the money will be paid from hotel/motel tax revenue at $500,000 per year over the next three years and $300,000 annually for the following seven years. He said the university is a huge part of Cookeville, so it feels appropriate to support the project.

“They committed to helping us get the new stadium to apply again for TSSAA to come and have their football championships played here in Cookeville which I think was a huge economic boost for our community and promoted a lot of tourism,” Mills said.

Mills said the agreement would include a clause providing the city the option to adjust or even eliminate the commitment should state legislation change or limit the city’s ability to collect hotel/motel tax. He said the agreement would also be subject to change given an unforeseen economic downturn.

“We have an out if we need an out,” Mills said. “And I don’t anticipate that and I know we’ll do everything we can to make sure we don’t have to eliminate, for sure, or even cut any future payments on this because the University definitely needs this revenue to help finance the construction.”

Council Member Chad Gilbert said it may be wise to include language in the agreement that ensures the stadium gets completed. He said the school has supplied the city with a loose construction schedule and the agreement should be tied to reasonable start and completion dates.

“There’s just a performance variable that it’s just good business to say, ‘Here’s the money, but if they change their mind, or if something happens,’ and I don’t suggest that they will, but it’s probably a reasonable tentative agreement,” Gilbert said.

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