MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mobile city and county leaders gathered January 29 at the James Seals Recreational Center to unveil plans to bring a soccer complex to the downtown area.
The proposal is an effort by city leaders to bring soccer back to the Port City.
Mobile County is looking to help out.
"The county is footing the bill for this," said City Councilman William Carroll. "If it's not viable, then we won't do it. If it is viable, then the opportunity for there to be a partnership between the city and the county is an option."
The idea is to build the complex at Texas Street Park near I-10.
According to officials, the city would still own the property and would be responsible for maintaining it.
City officials said the county has been losing many of these large soccer tournaments to Baldwin County.
Some residents, however, rejected the proposal.
"I would like to know why this area was chosen and why a soccer field here," said one woman at the meeting. "Can we build an Olympic size swimming pool instead?"
Some expressed concern that the local youth don't play soccer. Others responded by insisting that they have not had to opportunity to try.
Several soccer enthusiasts said the complex would be a major economic engine, attracting out-of-towners for the tournaments.
"Do you know how much money that is?" said one woman with the Mobile United Football Club. "That's dinners, hotels."
County officials said they are willing to pay but said the money must be used toward soccer at this time.
Officials said Texas Street Park was chosen because of its size and location.
"There's a great opportunity here because it's right off the interstate. It's close to all the hotels downtown," said Carroll. "There's additional parking at the civic center and convention center downtown where they can either shuttle or walk several blocks to get to the playing fields."
No plans have been finalized. City and county leaders are seeking input from the community.
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