MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) — After nearly 14 weeks of debate, a decision could come Tuesday on the City of Mobile financially supporting a new on-campus stadium at the University of South Alabama.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson says a deal with USA will be withdrawn if the city council does not vote on the matter. The council has delayed a vote three times, most recently last week.
USA announced June 1st, plans to build a $72 million stadium and soon afterward requested the City of Mobile and Mobile County contribute $10 each to the project. Stimpson was on board right away, saying the move would save the city millions in the long run.
“I really don’t look at this as funding South Alabama,” Stimpson told News 5 on June 19. “I look at this as an opportunity for the city to solve a problem we have. A financial problem we have”
Stimpson says 70-year-old Ladd-Peebles Stadium needs almost $7 million in repairs immediately and $33 million in work over the next twenty years. Stimpson said the city would save money by giving USA $10 million over that time frame, securing rent-free access for the Senior Bowl and Dollar General Bowl, tearing down 70-year-old Ladd, and building a new high-school sized park there with USA pitching in for that project.
In July, the Mayor’s proposal gained the official backing of the Chamber of Commerce, the Senior Bowl, and the Dollar General Bowl, but began unraveling in two neighborhoods. Many Maysville residents told the mayor they want to keep Ladd like it is. Meantime, many who live in Hillsdale, which borders USA, said they did NOT want a new on-campus stadium.
The City Council delayed votes on June 26, July 31, and again August 14.
Last week, Mayor Stimpson said that he and USA President Tony Waldrop have agreed that a decision must be made Tuesday, or the deal is off.
Waldrop has said in the past that without public support, USA will be unable to fund the stadium. The Mobile County Commission has never scheduled a vote on the issue, waiting to see what the City does first.