As part of discussions over a proposed new South Alabama stadium, local officials indicate that they want more concrete information on the future of Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The University of South Alabama is seeking to move its football program out of Ladd-Peebles Stadium, and into a new on-campus facility. South Alabama is hoping to open the new stadium in 2020, but discussions are taking place about whether the university will obtain requested funding from Mobile County and the City of Mobile to help cover debt on the project. Some major events currently held at Ladd-Peebles Stadium would shift to the new facility as part of that proposal, while South Alabama would provide the city with $2.5 million to address the future of Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Some elected officials are indicating that they want a more concrete plan on what will happen to Ladd-Peebles Stadium before deciding if South Alabama’s funding proposals should move forward. Converting the venue into a smaller high school facility has been floated as an option, but on Tuesday a Mobile city council member indicated that he will call a community meeting to discuss the facility’s future. For their part, county commissioners also want more information on how any future changes to Ladd-Peebles Stadium could take shape before making any decisions. More from AL.com:
The deal would result in USA games and some bowl games leaving the city’s venerable Ladd-Peebles Stadium, and the proposed deal between the university and the city calls for USA to provide a $2.5 million payment to help redevelop the Ladd site. But Ladd has its defenders, and on Tuesday City Councilman Levon Manzie said he planned to call a community meeting to hear concerns about the future of the stadium and the community around it. The meeting also would allow Mayor Sandy Stimpson and USA leaders to hear and address community concerns.
On Thursday, [District 1 Commissioner Merceria] Ludgood signaled that she too was interested in the outcome of Manzie’s effort. “The last thing I heard was that the city was planning some community meetings,” she said, but she’d hadn’t heard a confirmed date yet.
[District 2 Commissioner Connie] Hudson said she had two major concerns. The first was a fear that the high school teams currently using Ladd-Peebles for home games would be left without a venue during the transformation. “I just would like a better understanding of logistically how all this is going to work so that we don’t leave those four schools out in the cold,” Hudson said.
She also expressed concern about the assumption that $2.5 million would be enough to cover whatever is done with Ladd-Peebles. [District 3 representative Jerry] Carl suggested it would be ample to “take this stadium down to the field and the parking lot,” then build new grandstands suitable for high school games.
Estimated to cost roughly $72 million, the new South Alabama stadium would have a seating capacity around 25,000. The university’s football program has played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium since it launched in 2009.
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