Mobile County Commission President Connie Hudson has officially put ink to paper in a land deal that brings a much-discussed Mobile County Soccer Complex closer to fruition.

On Thursday, Hudson signed closing documents on a $1.3 million agreement to purchase 60 acres near Lees Lane and Halls Mill Road. The agreement includes an 18-month option to buy 30 additional acres as well.

The site, at the northwest intersection of Interstate 65 and Interstate 10, has long been eyed as a potential site for a county soccer complex — an idea Hudson has personally pushed through multiple setbacks for years.

The county spent close to $500,000 evaluating the project’s environmental and economic impact, but it crashed to a halt in 2016 when Hudson couldn’t find support on the commission for the pricey public project.

With a lower price tag and a smaller footprint, the retooled plan Hudson unveiled this year was more palatable to commissioners, who in April approved $3.7 million for constructing the first phase of the project. While the vote was required, the first phase is being paid for with discretionary funding for Hudson’s district.

When completed, the Mobile County Soccer Complex is slated to have 10 fields, but the first phase will only construct four. (Mobile County)

The first phase includes two tournament-quality fields and two seeded practice fields along with water and sewer, irrigation, a parking lot and an entrance road to the facility.

In an announcement on Friday, Hudson said the project is still in the design phase, but the land purchase was the first step toward building it out. Construction of the first phase is expected to begin in late 2018 at the earliest. 

Right now, the total cost of building out the complex remains unclear. Hudson has said detailed plans for those later two phases are still being developed. However, an estimate of the total price tag is being put together so that project can be submitted for possible RESTORE Act funding.

More information on the planned soccer facility can be found here, and more information about the property owners who just received $1.3 million from the county can be found here.