The Mobile City Council voted 6-1 to approve a contract that will fix an awning over a suite at Hank Aaron Stadium.

Councilwoman Bess Rich was the lone dissenting vote. She has either voted against or abstained from most of the recent contract awards related to improvements at the stadium where the Mobile BayBears play their home baseball games in the Southern League.

The reason for Rich’s lack of support is rooted in roughly $250,000 in back rent the baseball team owes the city for its use of the publicly-owned stadium, she said. Rich continued on that track Tuesday when she voted against the $24,950 contract with Engineered Textile Products, which does business as Aircraft Awning Company.

Rich said she encourages the BayBears participation in the contract, as the awning will mostly benefit business partners of the team.

“I encourage their participation, even above their yearly rent,” she said. “I’m not voting in favor until I see better participation from the BayBears.”

The team has paid its most recent $25,000 quarterly installment on the back rent, according to Executive Director of Finance Paul Wesch.

In other business, councilors voted to appoint John Skipper to the Solid Waste Authority and to allow Mayor Sandy Stimpson to accept more than $1.5 million in law enforcement grants with no local matches.
The council also fixed the costs for the demolition of 11 blighted structures within the city limits.