Sulphur Dell stadium site could be historically significant - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Sulphur Dell stadium site could be on historically significant land

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The site for a proposed new baseball stadium at Sulphur Dell near downtown Nashville may be historically significant, and the state has recommended Metro conduct archeological studies before digging.

State experts are concerned about ancient civilizations that could go back more than 1,000 years, and that information had not been disclosed to members of Metro Council.

"The prehistoric resources are something that I'm concerned about and especially the burials," said state archeologist Michael Moore.

Moore wants the city to find out what's there before starting construction.

"I think there is a reasonable potential enough to recommend that they at least take a look," Moore said.

The state's archeologist says he's notified the mayor's office that there is evidence of Native Americans living right around the area that would be to the left side of home plate.

He recommends the city hire an archeological consultant but adds they don't have to if they don't want to.

"There is no requirement that makes them do an archeological investigation ahead of time," Moore said.

Metro Councilman Charlie Tygard says this is news to him.

"We have not gotten any correspondence, any emails, any calls," Tygard said.

Mayor Karl Dean is pushing to break ground next month. Tygard is one of the council members who say this project is being rushed ahead too fast.

"This process is so hurried and so quick that there may have been some items, like this study, that may have been overlooked," Tygard said.

Finding a burial site would grind construction to a halt. The state archeologist recommends a study sooner rather than later.

"I would recommend they do it as soon as possible," Moore said.

Another council member, Robert Duvall, asked the city's finance director last month if there would be any surprises, like ancient Indian burial grounds at the site. He was told that wasn't expected to be a concern.

This project goes to Metro Council on second reading Tuesday, leaving very little time for questions and answers.

Tygard has introduced an amendment that he says protects taxpayers financially.

The success of the ballpark project hinges on the Nashville Sounds building a separate $50 million retail and residential development next door.

Tygard's amendment sets up a financial penalty of $750,000 a year if they don't.

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