Northport City leaders consider merits of building an aquatic center and or sports complex

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA CO., Ala. (WBRC) - Northport City leaders learned they have the capability to build an aquatic center and sports complex.

But doing so will require more than just willpower.

Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon told WBRC that building those facilities must make financial sense before he will support it.

“There’s a lot of things the city needs of course. Quality of life products is one of them. If it’s something, after much discussion, that looks like it can be done in the best interest of our citizens, then I’ll support it.”

Herndon and the Northport city council learned from a feasibility study that they would need nearly 50 acres of land and tens of millions of dollars to build an aquatic center and indoor and outdoor sports complex.

He said the next step calls for looking at the city’s budget to find the money to support a project that large.

“The council is going to be wise in its decisions. What can we afford? They’ll look agt. What’s the long-term payback? Is it something that’ll be here for the long haul?”

Northport gets $1.5 million dollars a year from local sales taxes that are designated for outside entertainment projects from a recent sales tax increase.

But that alone is still not enough to fund a sports complex and aquatic center.

Herndon admitted they are intrigued about bringing something like that to Northport.

“Any city needs something to draw off of. We need visitors coming in. We need visitors spending money in Northport and staying in Northport. So this would be one of those selling points of going forward with an aquatics center and sports complex,” Mayor Herndon expressed.

Nothing has been agreed upon on the project.

Mayor Herndon believes it could be two to three years before any ground is even broken for that to happen.

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