Does Ladd-Peebles Stadium have a future? Mobile council committee addresses issue Tuesday | Mobile County Alabama News


MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) – Ladd-Peebles Stadium had a venerable history, but it is largely inactive now and the facility is aging.

With the city of Mobile spending $ 200,000 a year, a city council committee will look into the matter on Tuesday.

Councilor William Carroll, who chairs the administrative services committee and whose district includes the stadium, said the meeting following the city council meeting would give new council members a chance to get up to speed on the budget. He said the stadium has a future.

“There have been stadiums all over the country that have reoriented themselves with a lot of things,” he said. “Take for example one of the most famous stadiums in America, which is the Rose Bowl. Rose Bowl has really taken an initiative there where they use their perimeter as a shopping area and flea market area.

Ladd-Peebles Stadium opened in 1948 and has seen a lot of football. It was the annual home of the Senior Bowl and then later of the bowl game now known as the Lending Tree Bowl. The University of Alabama played Vanderbilt University in the very first game, and the Crimson Tide, Auburn, and the University of Southern Mississippi played occasionally until the mid-1970s.

In addition, Mobile high schools brought the stadium to life on Friday evenings in the fall. And Donald Trump held one of his first large gatherings in 2015 en route to the presidency.

But the stadium has seen difficult times. The Senior Bowl moved to the University of South Alabama’s new Hancock Whitney Stadium in January, and the Lending Tree Bowl announced it would do the same. After the second mass shooting since 2019, the Mobile County school system severed ties with Ladd last month.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson also said he sees a future, though details are now unclear. He told FOX10 News it could be a matter of turning it into a smaller facility if the school system changes its mind.

“Part of the structure is OK,” he said. “But part of that needs to be really looked at because you keep spending a lot of money just to replace the rusty steel and those dollars could be better spent on maybe a slightly smaller footprint of a stadium. And for me, this is the way to go.

Carroll said he hopes the future “holds a silver lining” at the stadium.

“I think Ladd Stadium has the opportunity to do a lot of innovative and new things for the community to add new goals, new direction and remain a vital part of the community,” he said.

The stadium slide is a big blow to the neighborhood, where people used to make extra money by instructing fans to park on their property during big games.

“We will miss it for sure,” said Jalen Thomas, who broke his law in front of the stadium on Friday.

Thomas played at the stadium when he attended Murphy High School.

“It was a few years ago, but it wasn’t all as bad as it is today,” he said. “I can’t change that, however.”

George Owens, who has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years, notes that there were recent concerts at the stadium, as well as the Gulf Coast Challenge game between historically black college and varsity football teams.

“It was like a big event there, but it will take more to support, you know, the stadium,” he said.

Owens said it was disappointing, especially since the city recently spent $ 750,000 to renovate the stadium.

“It’s a sad, sad situation all around,” he said. “Especially after they’ve just done some recent renovations. They just set up the country houses. It’s almost like it’s a moot point to do it.

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