MADISON, Ala. - The Madison Planning Commission took the next step in making it possible for the city of build a stadium for a new Minor League baseball team, Thursday night at their meeting.
With a unanimous vote, the commission approved a new zoning ordinance, called the Urban City Development ordinance, that allows for a multipurpose facility out at Town Madison.
Part of the ordinance's description contained those magic words we've been anticipating, “There is a multi use venue that can be used as either a stadium or a ballpark.”
Even with the decision, a spokesman for the Town Madison development was coy about what that means for the prospects of attracting America's pastime.
“What the city has done and gone ahead and created an opportunity site, that if they saw the opportunity to build a multipurpose venue albeit for baseball or for community use, this would obviously be a great place to do it," says Joey Ceci of Town Madison.
WHNT first reported buzz over Minor League baseball over the summer, when our team obtained a confidential investment summary for BallsCorps LLC, dated early June, that asks investors to buy in and help them purchase the Mobile Baybears and relocate them to Madison.
After the meeting, Ceci wouldn't say whether they're pursuing the Baybears, but did say, that's the kind of thing Madison residents are looking for.
"Movie theaters, entertainment type venues or baseball, so I think any of those kind of things that bring the community together, give people those kind of gathering spots, those are the kinds of things you’d want to see on that property," he says.
Just hearing the word "stadium" already fired up nearby neighbors.
"Ballparks aren’t usually right next to residential areas so obviously the noise concern, the lights from the stadium, ball games that are 70 nights a week," says Kyle Brickhouse, who lives just feet away from the development property.
Ceci says, they plan on being good neighbors, whatever comes to the site, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes for good business.
“We’re going to be selling homes and renting apartments that are going to be in the heart of this project," says Ceci.
Madison City Council will have to approve the Planning Commission's decision at their next council meeting, which is scheduled for Monday.