Work continues on Jake Thomas extension

Apr. 09, 2014 @ 11:05 PM

Work on the Jake Thomas Road extension is progressing as anticipated, according to Assistant City Manager Eric Brackins. The extension was originally designed to accommodate the planned Cal Ripken Experience, but under revised plans, the extension is to continue to Veterans Boulevard.

"We are wrapping up that first half-mile of the project," Brackins said. "It goes from the intersection of Jake Thomas and Teaster — at the event center — and goes about a half-mile up the hill the the cul-de-sac there where the entrance to where the baseball complex will be."

There is no time frame for the completion of the extension. However, in a workshop last week, the city commission discussed the possibility of having the Jake Thomas extension meet Veterans Boulevard near the entrance to the Dollywood DreamMore Resort, which is planned to open in summer 2015.

"The main remaining portion, where we are finishing construction over to Veterans – we're working with the state to try to figure out funding," Brackins said. "We're hoping that (the extension) will be finished sooner rather than later."

The Cal Ripken Experience baseball complex is nearing a final design, Brackins said. In January, the city entered an agreement with the engineering and architectural firm Barge Waggoner to design the complex.

"We're hoping to have something to take to the commission to discuss at a workshop in the next couple of months," Brackins said.

He said that he hopes the city will bid out the Cal Ripken project's construction sometime in June, but he could not say when when the complex would be complete.

"We've listed a couple of different dates as to when it would open for operation, but we're still working on that time line – when it will be open, when the first tournament will be hosted, that type of thing," Brackins said.