The Pacific Coast League's Nashville Sounds announced on Thursday that they have pushed back the opening of their planned downtown ballpark from 2008 to 2009.
The one-year delay is a result of funding problems. Streuver Brothers, a Baltimore-based developer, is currently working on a $200 million project that would surround the new ballpark with a wide array of brand new commercial and residential properties. A large portion of the ballpark's estimated $43 million cost will be funded by property taxes generated by these new developments. However, Streuver Brothers has not yet been able to secure the necessary financing for their portion of the ambitious project.
Sounds general manager Glenn Yaeger relayed this bit of disappointing news in a widely circulated letter to the team's supporters.
"Ballpark construction can not begin until the construction account is fully funded from contributions by the Sounds and our development partner, Streuver Brothers," Yaeger stated in the letter. "Unfortunately, the requirements of this project are dictating an April 2009 ballpark completion date."
Once completed, the Sounds' new stadium will almost certainly be one of the premier venues in the Minor Leagues, one that the club hopes will draw favorable comparisons to downtown success stories such as AutoZone Park in Memphis or Fifth Third Field in Toledo.
For the time being, Nashville baseball fans can look forward to two more seasons at Herschel Greer Stadium, a 29-year-old facility located just two miles south of downtown Nashville. Yaeger, meanwhile, remains focused on the future.
"We fully expect a full funding of the construction account will occur by April 15, 2007," he wrote. "We remain enthusiastic and committed to this great downtown development project and look forward to the many benefits this project will bring to Nashville."
Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.