Metro has agreed to hire Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous, a consulting firm that specializes in sport facilities, to conduct a feasibility study on a new Nashville Sounds ballpark that includes analyzing and recommending potential sites for a stadium.
According to Mike Spore of Metro Purchasing, the city has agreed to pay Populous $157,000 to conduct the study. Five other companies made bids for the project. Populous is an international company with a Nashville office and is known for stadia design.
Populous, formerly known as HOK Inc., has worked on several notable baseball stadiums across the nation including AT&T Park in San Francisco, Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Nationals Park in Washington D.C., and PETCO Park in San Diego.
Jim Fyke, former state Department of Environment and Conservation commissioner who is now working in the Metro Finance Department Office, said the contract with Populous wouldn’t be finalized until a few more weeks.
Fyke, the point person from Metro’s end on the study, said he expects the analysis completed by the late fall.
“The Sounds will be included as part of the process,” Fyke said. “They won’t be a decision-maker in it, but they certainly will be used to find out what would accommodate their needs.”
Mayor Karl Dean’s administration has commissioned the study following two years of lobbying by Nashville Sounds’ management for a new downtown park to replace outdated Greer Stadium.
The administration has said it plans to use the study to dictate whether a new stadium is needed, where it should go and how it should be financed, among other things. Community input is supposed to help guide final recommendations.
Sounds owners covet the 11-acre former thermal plant site in the SoBro (south of Broadway) area near the Cumberland River. Dean has expressed interest for a new ballpark to locate at the former site of Sulphur Dell, Nashville’s long-demolished historic ballpark that sat northeast of the state capitol building.
Other sites bandied around include the East Bank of the Cumberland and properties near Music City Center.