Mayor: Huntsville Stars indecision puts other projects on hold
Mayor Battle said there is a possibility the city could be without a minor league team for years. (Source: WAFF file)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
Mayor Tommy Battle said Huntsville's current contract with the Huntsville Stars has put the city in a tough spot.
According to Mayor Battle, the city can't move forward with any plans to bring in a new team or decide what to do with Joe Davis Stadium until the Stars officially announce they're bolting for Biloxi.
The Stars owners have until Dec. 15 to inform the city of their intentions. They're contracted to play in Huntsville through the 2015 season.
Mayor Battle said even if another ball club contacted the city about wanting to move to Huntsville, the city can't talk to them. Mayor Battle has had conversations about the situation with Minor League Baseball leaders, the Southern League, and the new Stars owners.
Battle said the holdover also temporarily derails any plans to create a new downtown ballpark, and stops any talks with private developers over what to do with an aging Joe Davis Stadium.
According to the mayor, a new ballpark could cost around $40 million. Battle said part of that could be funded by the public and the owners of any new team that would come to the Rocket City. The mayor said multiple people have approached the city about repurposing Joe Davis into an indoor soccer and track facility and an outdoor football complex, but there are no plans to make any decisions until the Stars current contract is settled.
“Until you have a team, until you have a reason to move forward, until you have public support and public support is a big factor of it,” said Battle. “There's no sense in even getting past the starting blocks.”
Mayor Battle said there is a real possibility Huntsville is without a minor league baseball team for several years.