A local environmental group has told Mobile County commissioners it supports the preservation of a wetlands site where a soccer complex is currently being proposed.
The Mobile County Commission recently voted to move forward with plans to develop a 10 to 12 field soccer complex on property near the intersection of interstates 10 and 65. The proposed complex, pushed by commission President Connie Hudson would impact about eight acres of wetlands in the Dog River watershed.
“Our concern with the situation is due to the issue of construction on wetlands,” said Donna Jordan, Mobile Baykeeper program director. “We believe in preserving wetlands.”
Baykeeper Executive Director Casi Callaway sent a letter to the commissioners Wednesday afternoon reaffirming the organization’s stance on the preservation of wetlands in the area.
Callaway wrote that concerned citizens have contacted the organization.
“We are writing on behalf of our board, officers, staff and more than 4,000 members to express our support of the protection and preservation of wetlands in Mobile County,” she wrote. “Wetlands provide vital filtration and storage of stormwater, as well as protection from erosion. Wetlands within and downstream of urban and commercial areas are particularly valuable, as they greatly aid in counteracting the increased rate and volume of runoff from roads, parking lots and other impervious surfaces.”
As part of a seven-task contract with Neel-Schaffer, the commission agreed to pay $58,000 for environmental services on, at least, a portion of the 196 acres the county is looking to purchase for the proposed complex. A developer is set to donate 80 acres of that land for the project. Hudson has previously said her plan does call for on-site wetlands mitigation and that she has been told getting the proper permits wouldn’t be a problem because of the small amount of wetlands affected.
Hudson and Commissioner Jerry Carl have had differences over where to place the proposed soccer complex. Carl recently decided to pull from consideration his plan to place the fields near in Irvington. Carl has opted instead to work on securing private funding for the project.
Jordan said Baykeeper is still looking into the situation.
“We’re still doing our research,” she said. “We don’t prefer one site to another.”
Barry Vittor, owner of a local environmental research and consulting firm, who was commissioned for a study of the site said he didn’t feel comfortable commenting until he saw Baykeeper’s letter. He said he was expecting to see a copy of the letter Wednesday evening.
Attempts to reach Hudson for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful.