Ladd-Peebles board, City Council 'blindsided' by Mayor's office action on stadium budget
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) —
Funding for Ladd Peebles Stadium is being delayed.
At today's City Council meeting it was announced: the Mayor's office isn't moving forward with a plan to give $750,000 to Ladd. That money was just approved by the council in October.
“At this point today, the mayor is using his discretion to not move this $750,000 contract forward,” said Paul Wesch.
It was an announcement that shocked the room after Chairman of the Ladd Stadium Board Ann Davis pleaded for Ladd to receive the money to move forward with repairs.
"We are blindsided. If that’s the road you decide to travel, at least you could have informed us," said Councilman Fredrick Richardson.
Council members are now fighting for the $750,000 contract to help improve Ladd Peebles Stadium - an amount they approved.
"We have passed the budget and the mayor is not only going to not execute it, but not going to transfer the money from one account to the other as the amendment directed," said Councilman John Williams.
Chairman of Ladd Ann Davis pleaded for the money during the meeting and she, too, was blindsided.
"I mean, I just, I am so tired of playing games. Our reputation - Ladd's reputation - has been hurt so bad with all these comments about the stadium. It's in really good shape for its age, but we do need to make improvements and we were relying on the city to give us funds," said Davis.
They've already made some cosmetic improvements, but Davis said they needed that money for the rest and $200,000 from that fund was for a new walking trail.
"I’ve had several residents extremely excited about finally having a nice walking trail around Ladd stadium,” said Councilman Levon Manzie.
"For him to withhold the money, he is not trying to upgrade this community - and I am really having some issues dealing with that - because hearing the board saying that Ladd is not in the condition that was previously stated, not only is the mayor holding money from that stadium, but the community. I have some concerns about that," said Councilman C.J. Small.
"We were so excited for this new walking trail. We just had great hopes for Ladd and right now I feel like those hopes are dashed," Davis added.
The original funding of $200,000 for Ladd stadium will still be awarded, but council members said they will do whatever it takes to get the additional money they approved and Davis is right on board.
"I am mad and I am going to fight it. We fought too hard to get where we are. There are a lot of people that love Ladd. We will band together with the city council," says Davis.
Mayor spokesperson George Talbot said they have concerns with giving the board money for capital improvements.
"There is a simple legal question there about conveying money for a capital project through a performance contract," he said.
Council members believe there is more going on behind the scenes.
"It seems to me now he’s (mayor) putting his plan in place to make his own prediction come true. ‘If I don’t put the $750,000 into Ladd, it’ll fall down and what I said will be true, but we said we want to have $750,000, and we are obligated to have what we said come true... regardless of what we have to do to make it come true,” said Richardson.