Mobile County Scores With New Soccer Complex
Mar 19, 2019
For nearly seven years, County Commission President Connie Hudson has been on a quest to build a soccer complex in Mobile County. With the unanimous vote on March 11, Hudson's dream is set to become reality.
The Mobile County Commission awarded a $4 million bid to Mobile-based John G. Walton Construction, Inc. to build Phase I of the Mobile County Soccer Complex. The complex is situated on a 60-acre industrial strip of Halls Mill Road near the intersection of I-65 and I-10. Work should be underway within the next 45 days. Four soccer fields will be built as part of this initial phase and Hudson anticipates those being ready for play by the years' end.
As stated to John Sharp with al.com, Hudson noted that she's "very happy". "I think this amenity is needed by our community and has been for a long time. It's exciting to see it take shape". She added, "The hope is that it's a catalyst. This is just the beginning."
For years, proponents for a soccer complex had stressed the need for more fields as players and families continually traveled out of Mobile pouring millions into host cities. Hudson championed their desire but was unable to find unanimous support from city and county officials, and payment for the project had proven difficult until now. Money for the project, which includes road improvements for the complex entrance at Lee's Lane and Halls Mill Road, is coming from a combination of sources. Most of the funds are from capital improvement programs in District Two that had been set aside. An additional $1.2 million is from offshore oil and gas lease proceeds that will be used toward the construction of an environmentally-friendly permeable parking lot.
The Mobile Sports Authority is thrilled with the announcement. "We are in a big deficit in the number of soccer fields in the county," stated MSA Executive Director, Danny Corte. "But, these fields can also be used for other purposes - it's not just soccer. Lacrosse teams can use the fields. You can use it for rugby." Furthermore, Corte stated "We can now begin to go out and get some of these events that have been going other places. An advantage for us is that some of these other places don't have the infrastructure and support that Mobile and Mobile County has."
Although it will be a while before the entire project is completed, this should help Mobile County attract more competitive events, which helps to fill hotels, restaurants and public coffers. Commissioner Hudson stated to al.com that there is "hope that once actual construction begins, support will follow." "We're looking at grant funding, community foundations, and benefactors," she said.
Officials have stated all of Phase I should be completed by January 2020.
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