Mobile County School Board approves lease for piece of land for Williamson’s stadium, still one more hurdle to be cleared

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:44 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -A little over a year ago the Mobile County Public School System promised to build five on-campus stadiums for B.C. Rain, Lefore, Vigor, Davidson, and Williamson. While four of those stadiums are almost finished, Williamson’s hasn’t started yet.

“Are we ticked? Yes, we are very ticked. Imagine being a child and everybody around you has a stadium but you and you had the best season,” said Prattis Williams.

Last year a site survey revealed there wasn’t quite enough land to build the stadium on Williamson’s campus. Because part of the land was actually owned by the city as part of Harmon Park. That realization started months of negotiations between the city and the school system.

“We came to fruition with the City of Mobile that they would lease us that land for 99 years and we’re moving forward with that,” said School Board President Sherry McDade.

Even with the lease approved the school system can’t break ground just yet. A letter to Superintendent Chresal Threadgill from City Attorney Ricardo Woods says that the same piece of land was purchased in 1969 as part of the H.U.D. open space program which predates H.U.D. in its current form. Now the school system says they’re working with the city to try to get H.U.D’s approval to move forward with the stadium.

“He’s helping us expedite this matter,” said McDade. “He’s working really hard to bring it to fruition and get the approval by H.U.D.”

Despite the lease, some Williamson alumni aren’t happy with today’s news.

“I think they already knew this. How do you not know what land you own? Everything’s been a delay,” said Williams.

Prattis Williams says the alumni would prefer the school system use the land they already own on Arlington Street.

“We would love that piece of land,” added Williams. “They could build today it wouldn’t be any hiccups it wouldn’t be any prolonging.”

School Board President Sherry McDade says she’s still committed to building the stadium on campus.

“Not a mile away from the school, not a quarter of a mile away from the school. We wanted those stadiums on campus. It’s coming,” said McDade.

Superintendent Threadgill says getting approval from H.U.D. could take anywhere between one month and one year. Meanwhile, the school system says they are moving forward with the design phase of the stadium so they can break ground as soon as they get approval from H.U.D.