After seven years of delays and discussion, the Mobile County Commission is set to award a $4 million contract next week for the construction of a multi-field soccer complex in Mobile.
The Mobile County Soccer Complex will be located on approximately 60 acres near the intersection of Interstates 65 and 10, off of Hall’s Mill Road. The county purchased the $1.3 million piece of property in 2018 and still maintains an option to purchase an additional 30 acres in the area.
Though it hasn’t been officially approved, the commission is expected to approve a contract with Mobile-based John G. Walton Construction Company during a meeting on Monday, March 11.
According to County Engineer Bryan Kegley, Walton’s $4,087,335 bid was the only one the county received. He said previous bids had also been rejected because they exceeded the budget for the project.
Commission President Connie Hudson, who has championed the soccer complex project since 2012, briefly discussed the upcoming vote during a conference meeting on Thursday. After seven years of delays and setbacks, Hudson took a moment to say: “Yay!”
“Many thanks to all of those who have helped make this vision a reality,” she said. “Soccer enthusiasts have been waiting for this complex for a very long time, and I am delighted that construction will soon begin to help address this ever-growing recreational need in the county.”
The $4 million contract will fund the first of what is expected to be three phases of construction, which will include two tournament quality fields, two seeded practice fields as well as irrigation, sewer, lighting and landscaping. Construction is expected to be completed by January 2020.
The county has previously approved the use of Pay-As-You-Go transportation funding for improving Hall’s Mill Road and Lee’s Lane, which sit adjacent to the complex.”
The rest of the construction is primarily being funded with dollars allocated to Hudson’s district for capital improvement projects. Another $1.2 million from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) will be used to build a permeable pavement parking lot at the complex.
Those dollars come from royalties energy companies pay the federal government in order to mine for oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico, and the local environmental group Mobile Baykeeper has criticized the county’s use of GOMESA funds on this project.
Hudson has maintained that including a permeable parking lot would “keep the project green.”
Commissioners Merceria Ludgood and Jerry Carl did not voice any objections on Thursday, though both voted down a more costly proposal Hudson pitched in 2016 that would have required a $20 million bond. The county spent close to $500,000 evaluating that proposal’s environmental and economic impact, though some of the permits and approvals acquired during that process carried over to the scaled-down version of the soccer complex the commission approved in April 2018.
According to the county, when all three phases are completed, the soccer complex will have 10 tournament-quality fields with lighting, concession and restroom buildings and a proper championship field with bleachers for spectators.
The exact cost of all three phases of the complex is currently unclear, though the county has given an estimate as part of a submission for possible RESTORE Act funding. According to that proposal, the second and third phases of the project could cost around $17.8 million combined.
However, a county spokesperson said that number is based on a plan that considers the RESTORE Act as the funding source for the second and third phases of the project. If it isn’t approved for grant funding, the later phases could still be scaled down at a later date.
Right now, the focus is solely on the first phase of the project, and according to the county, phase II and phase III will only move forward “as funding becomes available through future capital improvement programs, grants and other community fundraising sources.”
The county also plans to partner with Mobile United Futbol Club to manage, maintain and operate the facility once the first phase is completed in early 2020.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).