The Board of Directors at The Grounds unanimously approved a petition to become part of the city of Mobile during its meeting Thursday night.
The move officially asks the Mobile City Council to vote to allow the annexation of the fairgrounds. The petition will be placed on the Tuesday, March 4 agenda for a vote, Council President Gina Gregory said.
“We hope to very soon have you in the city,” she told board members tonight.
The Grounds — roughly 70 acres at the corner of Ziegler Boulevard and Cody Road — will join Gregory’s district if the annexation is approved. It will be contiguous with existing corporate limits.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson jokingly encouraged board members to “bring your champagne” to the meeting. He said the administration was excited about the petition.
“We look forward to partnering with you and helping to grow the city and the fairgrounds,” he said.
Stimpson did not shy away from linking the proposed annexation to the administration’s hope for future growth in the city. In remarks to the board, Stimpson encouraged them to “reach out past your borders” and get more people to join the city.
Another benefit to the city would be sales tax revenue. The estimated increase in revenue is unclear, but every events held at the Grounds, with the exception of the Greater Gulf State Fair, is taxable.
Scott Tindle, executive director of The Grounds, said the annexation would be a benefit to the fairgrounds because it opens the venue to new opportunities.
“It gives us an opportunity on the roster of venues for the city to pitch,” he said. “We want to be a partner with the city.”
Stimpson said finding a possible new home for Mardi Gras society balls did not factor into the decision. However, Tindle said the Grounds could accommodate large groups of revelers if need be. He said the property has 22,000 square feet of ballroom space and 60,000 square feet of exhibition space. The Grounds already hosts 15 non-parading society functions, he said.