MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Williamson High School’s proposed football field is now in the hands of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The City of Mobile owns the property at Harmon Park, the location of the proposed field, but part of the funding in the purchase came from HUD in the late 1960s.
Williamson was originally one of five high schools planned to get a new football field and remain the only one that has not broken ground. Leflore, Vigor, B.C. Rain and Davidson High School’s fields are nearing completion and are expected to be ready for play next season.
At Monday’s Mobile County Public School Board meeting, Superintendent Chresal Threadgill said the approval for the proposed 99-year lease with the City of Mobile is pending while they wait for HUD’s response. Work on the design plans will continue.
Frustrations are growing for some members of Williamson’s Alumni Association as the process is taking longer than expected.
“Are we ticked? Yes, we’re very ticked,” said Prattis Williams, a member of Williamson’s Alumni Association. “Imagine being a child and everyone around you has a stadium, but you and you had the best season.”
It could take anywhere from a month to a year for HUD to give their stamp of approval, according to Superintendent Threadgill. However, the school board says they are “very positive” that HUD will approve the lease agreement.
“It’s gonna happen sooner than we can only imagine,” said Sherry Dillihay-McDade, president of the Mobile County Board of School Commissioners. “All we wanna do is just want to make sure that everybody is happy, and content and I know that they’re working hard. They want that stadium, and we want them to have that stadium, but we have to follow protocol.”
Williams said the alumni believe there are other locations that the school system could consider in order for Williamson to get a stadium faster. One of those locations is on Arlington Street.
“We’re still fighting for a piece of land that the school board owns,” said Williams. “We would love that piece of land, they could build today, it wouldn’t be in hiccups, any prolonging.”
McDade says the school board voted a year ago and agreed that they want all of the school football fields to be on campus without having to worry about transporting students to games.
There have been some concerns of whether or not the Harmon Community Center, which sits diagonal from where the stadium would be built, will be affected by the stadium’s construction.
Two school board members told News 5 the community center is not in the proposal and they are only considering building at Harmon Park, the open field next to Williamson.