Decatur City Council gives green light to mayor to search for new Aquadome sites

The new proposed site is about a mile from the current Aquadome and a block from Downtown Decatur.
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 9:19 PM CST
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Decatur moves another step closer to replacing the Aquadome. The Decatur City Council voted to authorize Mayor Tab Bowling to explore new sites for the recreation center.

$35 million will go towards this as part of a recent near $100 million settlement with 3M, as contamination at the current Aquadome site will eventually force the building to close. The new proposed site is about a mile from the current Aquadome and a block from Downtown Decatur.

But this plan did not come without controversy.

“We’re not really replacing an Aquadome, we’re removing an Aquadome and coming up with a new project that is going to be more geared to serving the people of, not necessarily the citizens of Decatur,” said District 1 Councilman Billy Jackson.

Jackson says the concern is the new proximity to the area the Aquadome was intended to serve. Suraya Cannon says she’s worried about the children in the area and how they will get there.

“If these kids don’t have places to go, our crime rate is gonna go up because then you’re gonna have break-ins, or hanging out at the stores, and the police are gonna be more involved and more engaged with the children than they are with bigger and better things they could be working on,” said Cannon.

Jackson also thinks other site options were not explored.

“I just think that we rushed through this and we’re pushing this thing forward without a lot of thought, without a lot of deliberation,” said Jackson.

Mayor Bowling disagrees.

“We’ve been talking about trying to do a development at this location now for many years. It just so happens that the 3M settlement lends itself for us to be able to actually move forward with that,” said Bowling.

Cannon wants city leadership and residents to meet in the middle.

“I hope we can come to a happy medium about what the people want versus what the city wants to do because it should be about the children,” said Cannon.

When an official location is chosen, that decision will go back to the city council.

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