Plans to build a more than $22-million dollar baseball complex in Pigeon Forge are moving forward.
The city approved a construction contract with Merit Construction at its meeting Monday.
The Ripken Experience facility off Teaster lane will include 6 fields with synthetic turf, batting cages and a 14,000 square foot club house. The city reached a branding agreement that will allow them to use baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr.'s likeness in advertisements.
Ripken Baseball operates Ripken Experience facilities in Aberdeen, Md., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. The vision for these complexes comes from Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken, Jr., and his brother, 12-year Major League veteran Bill Ripken.
Each stadium will resemble an existing or historic ballpark, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.
"This location is stunning. It is above the Parkway and offers spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains. It will appeal to baseball coaches and teams on many levels," said Eric Brackins, Pigeon Forge's assistant city manager.
Some site preparation has been done, and Merit's work will begin in earnest in early August. The facility will be ready for tournament action in spring 2016.