Historic Engel Stadium Padlocked; Organization Fights to Save It

WDEF TV Channel 12
March 30, 2011
by Dreanne Newton

For years, Engel Stadium has been in need of roof and field repairs.

Efforts to revitalize the facility have fallen short, and now it's deemed a hazard by the city.

But one organization is still fighting to save the historic downtown landmark.

Frank Burke, Owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts, "There's a tremendous amount of history,and it actually may be the best place I’ve ever watched a baseball game."

Frank Burke, Owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts, reminisces on his time spent at the Historic Engel Stadium.

"I have a lot of very fond memories of games over there in the five years that we spent there."

But now, the once-thriving ballpark stands vacant. Considered a hazard and a liability the city, it's now boarded and locked up.

Janna Jahn, Director of the Engel Foundation, "The fact that the facility has been padlocked doesn't really come as a surprise to us."

The stadium, which was built in the 1930's, has deteriorated over the years, and now needs thousands of dollars in repairs.

Frank Burke, Owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts, "I know that the roof has got to be repaired, if not replaced. That's obviously a big deal."

Janna Jahn, Director of the Engel Foundation, "We had hoped to start on roof repairs a few months ago, but that hasn't quite worked out yet."

Janna Jahn is the Director of the Engel Foundation. Established in 2009, the organization is focused on revitalizing the historic site.

Janna Jahn, Director of the Engel Foundation, "We see a lot of opportunity in what Engel could become that also builds on the legacy of its past."

But the foundation is in limbo, waiting for the state to approve UTC’s ownership of the stadium.

Janna Jahn, Director of the Engel Foundation, "Once that happens then we can start to finalize our agreement with the university to take over the management and operation of the stadium."

The Engel foundation plans to use the facility in different ways to not only provide entertainment to the community, but to draw crowds back to the stadium.

Janna Jahn, Director of the Engel Foundation, "Some of our plans for the stadium include exploring the feasibility of concerts, historic walking tours. We think Engel could be a real draw for tourism."

And the foundation plans to host a retro game for the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Chattanooga Parks and Rec Director, Larry Zehnder, says the locks should only be temporary.

He encourages anyone willing to save the stadium to contribute to the Engel Foundation.

Article courtesy of WDEF TV Channel 12: http://wdef.com/news/historic_engel_stadium_padlocked_organization_fights_to_save_it/03/2011

Engel Foundation in the News