Madison has taken another step closer to bringing minor-league baseball to the Tennessee Valley.
The Madison City Council approved the rezoning of 180 acres of land to include a large mixed use venue, such as a ballpark, in Town Madison on Monday.
City leaders have been positioning the newly rezoned urban center district as the potential future home of the Mobile Baybears. Madison Mayor Paul Finley said the zoning change doesn't guarantee the minor league team will relocate to the city.
"I think right now that we have this and we have the ability to talk about it, put all of our assets towards it. We’re going to see quickly a good understanding of if this mayor and council can make this work," Finley said. He goes on to say "It’s a lot sooner than later, but there is a ton of work that has to be done."
At the meeting the council also approved spending $250,000 for the design group Populous Inc. to draft a rendering of a new ballpark. Finley told WAAY 31 the money is from the city's capital improvement program fund.
The project would also call for the use of local sales tax revenue and the recently increased lodging tax income to help fund the $40 million ballpark, but only if a minor league team relocates to Madison.