Plans under way for indoor/outdoor sports complex

Plans are officially under way for a long-awaited indoor/outdoor sports complex just off Watt Road near Interstate 40/75.

In two related moves Monday, Sept. 28, Knox County Commission approved the developers’ request to rezone a portion of the property from Planned Commercial, General Business and Agricultural, to Business and Manufacturing and General Residential, and also approved a request to amend the county’s sector plan from Office and Agricultural to General Commercial and Medium Density Residential.

The rezoning took place along Everett and Buttermilk roads, according to County Commission documentation.

The entire property being developed is around 250 acres.

“We are thrilled that the zoning is now in place to help this plan move forward,” said Mike Cohen, representing Steve Maddox and Maddox Development, which is developing the project. “The 80 acres along the Interstate were already zoned correctly, now the rest of the property, including the back side of the hill, also has the right zoning.

“Steve has been working on this for years,” he added. “I first started working with him on it in 2007, and we have really been working in earnest on it for the last two years. (Knox) County has wanted a sports park to attract tournaments from out of town for years.

“Through Visit Knoxville, they retained a consultant specializing in these projects. He concluded not only that such a park would work here, but that our site is the best choice. And our plan is to have it developed privately, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. It will also result in upgraded utility service for the area as well as road improvements.

“Everybody wins.”

Exact plans for the multi-sport complex are still in the works, with many details still to be determined, although Cohen remarked that it’s “fields are likely to be artificial turf and can be configured to handle football, baseball or football games,” offering “lots of flexibility.”

Plans also call for “a significant amount of development” surrounding the sports complex, “Although we already have a quality firm that wants to build some class A apartments,” Cohen added.