MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - The Madison County Commission had a controversial item on their agenda Wednesday morning: the approval of an economic development project.
The commission ended up passing the vote, but there were a few commissioners that voted no for the Rock Creek Sports Complex project. Their reasoning for voting no was because they felt like the commission shouldn't necessarily put up funding for a private business, and they had several questions about how this would help the Madison County economy.
If approved, the Rock Creek Sports Complex will be a travel competition facility, home to six to eight baseball and softball fields, two soccer fields and indoor facilities for training. The complex would be located on Rock Cut Road in Gurley.
"He's making a commitment to spend $134,000 of the District 3 dollars that are appropriated annually to that district for this project," said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong.
Some Madison County commissioners are concerned with public funds going toward a private business.
"We're open to new ideas, but I think there's gonna be a lot more definitive information needed before this commission can make a vote," Strong said.
District 3 Commissioner Craig Hill says he thinks the Madison County community will benefit from the complex. Hill says it's fair for the commission to provide service to get the project started.
"As a parent that's traveled all over the south with travel baseball, I'm very familiar with this process and I know it's expensive to stay, it's expensive to eat, and these complexes, they bring a lot of money into the community," Hill said. "Huntsville will benefit, Madison County will benefit by money that will be spent in our community."
Commissioner Hill would use District 3 funding for the project and use the county's equipment and labor for initial work; then, a company would come and finish the construction.
Wednesday's county commission vote was preliminary, so the complex is not a done deal. Commissioner Hill will now gather and provide additional information to the commission, like how this complex could improve the Madison County economy.