Phenix City to pay about $45,000 to host youth world series in 2018

Nov. 9, 2017

By Blenda Copeland

Phenix City will pay about $45,000 to host a youth baseball world series next summer -- a move that could boost the city’s revenue and its exposure on the national level.

The city council authorized the mayor and city manager at its meeting Tuesday to sign an agreement with the Babe Ruth League Inc. that gives Phenix City the rights to host the 2018 Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series tournament at Idle Hour Sports Complex Aug. 8-15.

“This is really huge for Phenix City,” said Mayor Eddie Lowe.

Discussion revealed the city’s ability to host the tournament means the city can look forward to increased sales as parents, players and other supporters of the teams stay in local hotels and spend dollars here over the week they’re in town for the tournament.

Also, Phenix City is expected to have a team in the series.

In other highlights from Tuesday’s meeting, the council also approved a string of resolutions that use federal funds in such a way that the city can have about $10 million dollars’ worth of roadwork done for a cost to the city of about $2 million.

Projects include work on Opelika/Cutrate Road; 5th Street South; Brickyard and South Railroad Street; Melanie Lane; Seale Rd.  431 to the Hwy. 280 bridge, 16th Ave. and a Seale Road bridge replacement.

Also approved were two related measures under the city manager’s portion of the agenda.

Long criticized by some for its stance on system development fees, the city council showed a slight change in direction Tuesday when it approved 1) a resolution to extend water and sewer service to property outside the Phenix City limits but located within the city’s water and sewer jurisdiction, and 2) a resolution temporarily reducing system development fees on the construction of new single family homes to encourage their construction.

According to discussion, the resolutions will be of “significant economic benefit” to the city and are hoped to encourage residential construction in Ladonia, for instance, where some residential property isn’t yet legally allowed to annex into Phenix City’s limits because it’s not contiguous, or for other reasons. The catch is that owners of the properties built using the resolutions’ power must irrevocably covenant the land so that it will be annexed into the Phenix City limits when it becomes legal to do so. That means it would be maintained on file that when future heirs, owners of the property, etc., tranfer ownership of the property, the covenent remains in effect that the property would one day become annexed into the city limits as soon as it’s legally allowable.

City Manager Wallace Hunter talked about the city’s future growth, estimating that by the 2020 Census, the city might have closer to 40,000 residents. He also talked about the west side of Phenix City -- the Ladonia area of Russell County -- and how the city has water and sewer lines in that area and that developers have asked about service.

“We think this is a good idea,” Hunter said, noting that the city has to grow its water/sewer system. 

Councilman Steve Bailey, who noted he voted against increasing the city’s system development fees, said that the city was basically saying that if the city’s willing to extend water/sewer services in this particular case, then the particular affected property owners should be willing to be a part of the city.

The issue of annexation into Phenix City has been an ongoing topic for the past few years. The Russell County Commission has at times addressed the issue regarding its sewer line efforts in the Ladonia and Ft. Mitchell areas and also how the police jurisdiction has affected sales tax matters.

The issue of how annexation is properly and legally to be done is covered in the Code of Alabama.