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Gallery: East Ridge city leaders break ground for new Chattanooga Red Wolves stadium

red wolves groundbreaking 5.jpg
Image: WTVC

A brand new soccer stadium is on the way for the Chattanooga Red Wolves. It is one that may enhance the experience for thousands of fans just by the way it will be built.

The team broke ground on the its new facility Tuesday morning.

The complex will be the first and only professional soccer-specific stadium in the region.

"The stadium will connect people through the love of the beautiful game for decades to come,” said team owner Bob Martino.

A dream drawing closer to reality for Martino and players like goalie Alex Mangels.

"To have our own stadium will drive us and drive the support behind us,” said goalie Alex Mangels.

The vision includes packing 5,500 fans in the stands for a top-notch game-day experience. Designers says it is from anything in our region...

“Designing it specifically for soccer allows us to bring the seating in as close as we can,” Martino said.

“So the fans will feel like they're on the field with the players.”

The new home will not be just for matches. The plans include a hotel, apartments and shopping. Those are all ingredients to attract even the casual soccer fan, as well as additional tourism and business

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee attended Tuesday morning's event.

"Jobs will be created,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who participated in the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Quality of life will be improved. So this is a stimulus to increase activity.”

1,200 new jobs is the expectation. It is a project met with both excitement and concern. There is fear of unwanted traffic in the area by those who live close by and the complex standing on wetlands and the flood zones.

But East Ridge mayor Brian Williams thinks this is a move in the right direction for his community. Residents have been looking for a change for years.

"It's turning over a new leaf for East Ridge,” Williams said.

“It's a signal of greener days ahead 20:02

This is not a done deal. Martino has not received permits yet. He is working with TDEC and FEMA since the stadium is being built on wetlands and in a flood zone.

Martino hopes to get approval within the next few months.

If approved, he eyes the team playing some matches in the new stadium in during the 2020 season.

At the event, Red Wolves owner Bob Martino said, “The stadium will connect people through the love of the game for many years to come.”

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger added, "I hope this becomes a marriage with Camp Jordan," which he called one of the "gems of the country."

The stadium comes with a $125 million price tag, and East Ridge City Council members recently approved tax incentives to help the stadium get built.

During the planning process, the excitement was met with concerns of traffic issues and potential for flooding, which is near I-75 and I-24.

But last week, city council gave the go-ahead to build the stadium.

In the meantime, the Red Wolves have been playing at Chattanooga Christian School

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Read more: East Ridge residents hopeful Red Wolves development increases property value

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