PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Pigeon Forge City Commission has approved a plan that would be a milestone for the future of The Ripken Experience building a new facility in Pigeon Forge.
Council approved a pre-development agreement that will lay out a cost for the city and Ripken.
"It is going to be the first agreement we've entered into with Ripken. Where we both sign a contract and actually move forward. There's actual money to be spent here," said Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear.
The city has already bought land off Teaster Boulevard where the baseball experience would be built.
The Ripken Experience already runs facilities in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Aberdeen, Maryland. Mayor Wear says the company is excited about opportunities in Tennessee and believes Pigeon Forge is a perfect fit for them. Current plans call for 7 fields with room for growth in Pigeon Forge complex.
Mayor Wear says he believes this could open up a whole new market for tourists to the Pigeon Forge area. he hopes the families who come to play in Ripken tournaments will return for a family vacation on their own.
"This is a vacation created around baseball, it's not just a baseball tournament or baseball experience. It's to get out into the community and spend that money."
A three year projection of the Cal Ripken Experience claims that 82,000 more visitors will come to the area, plus another 30,000 more hotel nights will be booked.
This should also bring in another 38.5 million dollars a year for the area.