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Champy’s World-famous Blues, Brews, & Bird Comes to Madison This Spring

MADISON — An old Down in the Delta family recipe for fried chicken is coming to Madison in April.

Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken will open in the renovated Bison’s Bar & Grill building at 8020 Madison Boulevard, in front of Publix near Zierdt Road intersection. It will be Champy’s fourth location in Alabama. There are restaurants in Daphne, Alabaster, and Muscle Shoals; two locations in Chattanooga and locations in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Athens, Ga.

“I am a world-traveled foodie and Champy’s World Famous Fried Chicken is among the best fried chicken recipes in the world,” said managing partner Eugene Jung.

Jung, his brother-in-law David Harris and co-partner Michael Creekmore are refurbishing the building, replacing the floors and removing the booths to make more room for tables. They are expanding the dining room, the bar and the front and side patios, adding roll-up tarp awnings as protection against weather events.

“There will be a small outdoor bar on the front patio facing Madison Boulevard,” said Jung. “We can close it off for private parties or family gatherings of up to 80 people. Eventually, we will have live music off the bar patio.”

The menu includes salads, Southern favorites such as fried green tomatoes, buttermilk-fried pickles, and Mississippi Delta homemade hot tamales with coleslaw and crackers.

Champy’s won two Best of Southern Living awards, and several citywide awards in Chattanooga for its chicken.

“I know good food, so when I saw an opportunity to open a restaurant, I knew this location, right across from Town Madison and the new baseball stadium, was the place to do it,” said Jung.

Jung’s daughter and her family live in Huntsville, so Jung has relocated from Atlanta and bought a home in the nearby Lake Forest community.

“I am excited about introducing Huntsville and Madison to Champy’s this spring …. oh, and wait until you taste the tamales!” Jung said.



  

Looking back on a great year for local business

According to Inc. magazine, tech companies are feeling the pressure of rising costs in large coastal cities. Businesses and residents are leaving in search of opportunities in less expensive areas.

This is great news for Huntsville which, in 2018, saw new companies planting seeds, older companies deepening their roots, infrastructure branching outward, and the quality of life flourishing as active lifestyles demand more room to grow.

Inc. writer David Brown puts Huntsville No. 2 among the Top Six “Attention-grabbing Cities for Tech Start-ups.”

“NASA’s presence is largely responsible for the Rocket City’s high rankings on the opportunity scale for engineers. The city has also executed well in forging strong public-private partnerships and promoting a thriving technology industry. Software development, electrical engineering, and computer science are top fields, contributing to the city’s 309 percent year-over-year growth in tech jobs.”

With so many sensational “gets” for Huntsville and Madison this past year, the question is whether it is sustainable?

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Chip Cherry, president & CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, answer that question.

“We have spent the past 10 years with a focused, intentional plan to grow and diversify our job base, improve quality of life, and capitalize on the rich assets in Huntsville and North Alabama,” said Battle. “We’ve put an emphasis on workforce development in our schools. Our road projects are designed to keep traffic moving long into the future. We are making Huntsville more appealing and desirable for top talent to move here through parks, music and cultural amenities, greenways and bike lanes.

“We don’t plan just for the next year. We plan for the next 10 to 20 years. For example, we created the Cyber Huntsville initiative and worked with that volunteer group to land the State Cyber and Engineering School in Huntsville. This program, along with many others in our public schools and universities, will help prepare the tech workforce we will need for the future.”

Cherry agreed that diversification is the key.

“A diversified base of businesses coupled with a strong and diversified portfolio on Redstone Arsenal are key to ensuring that we have a dynamic regional economy,” he said. “The community’s economic development wins in 2018 will impact the community for generations to come. 

“The blend of new locations and expansions will provide a broad range of employment opportunities as well as providing business opportunities for local companies to grow.”

Here are the Huntsville Business Journal’s top Madison County business stories of 2018:

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing

Of all the big business acquisitions and developments launched in 2018, Battle said that if he had to focus on a single mayoral accomplishment in 2018, the Mazda-Toyota announcement dwarfs all others because of its impact on our economy year in, and year out.

“I’ve often said the hard work on a project comes after the announcement, and the scale of this [Mazda Toyota] project was no exception,” he said. “It brought enormous challenges from its sheer size and scope. Clearing 1,200 acres, bringing in 7 million yards of dirt, putting a building pad in place with a solid rock foundation, building roads, and all the other challenges associated with a development – many times over.

“Fortunately, we worked in partnership with the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S. team. And we are able to navigate through the challenges together and meet our deadlines. Now the building is ready to go vertical and on track to produce cars in 2021. This plant will provide jobs for 4,000-5,000 workers, generational jobs that will impact our economy for decades to come.”

Being built by Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA, the sprawling site will produce 300,000 next-generation Toyota Corollas and a yet-to-be-revealed Mazda crossover model annually, beginning in 2021.

Investment in the Mazda Toyota plant is being split evenly between the automakers, allowing both automakers to respond quickly to market changes and ensure sustainable growth.

“While there were a number of things that placed our community in a strong competitive position to win this project,” Cherry said. “In the end, it was the ability of our team, and our partners, to be nimble and responsive that made the difference.”

Rocket City Trash Pandas

In early 2018, the City of Madison approved up to $46 million to build a baseball stadium, signaling minor league baseball’s return to the Tennessee Valley.

Highly visible from I-565 off Madison Boulevard at Zierdt Road, the ballpark will seat 5,500 baseball fans, and is part of the Town Madison project.

The team – named the Rocket City Trash Pandas in a voting contest – will officially move from Mobile to Madison after the 2019 baseball season and remain the farm team for the Los Angeles Angels.

Town Madison

Town Madison development, which held several groundbreakings in 2018 after nearly 2 years of dormancy as $100 million in new road construction was built to accommodate traffic flow to and from the development.

Town Madison will include 700,000 square feet of office space; over 1 million square feet of retail space; 700 new hotel rooms; over 1,200 luxury apartments; and 300 single-family homes.

“We’re very pleased to see groundbreakings underway in the Town Madison space,” said Pam Honeycutt, executive director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce. “When complete, it will be a true destination spot, enabling families to spend the day enjoying entertainment, shopping and dining.”

Last February, HHome2 Suites by Hilton was the first to announce it was breaking ground on a 97 all-suite extended-stay hotel as part of the section called West End at Town Madison. The hotel is scheduled to open early this year.

Wisconsin-based retailer Duluth Trading Co. broke ground on its 15,000-square foot store in early December. The company is Town Madison’s first retail partner and will open this year.

As part of The Exchange at Town Madison, local developer Louis Breland broke ground last April on a 274-unit luxury apartment complex called The Station at Town Madison. It is slated to open in the summer.

In late May, Breland confirmed the development of a 150-room Margaritaville Hotel adjacent to the ballpark. It is set to open in 2020.

Madison Mayor Paul Finley said, “Margaritaville is an international brand known for high-quality and fun projects. Not only will this hotel attract guests from across the region, but it will add multiple new dining and entertainment options for Madison residents.”

The Heights and The Commons at Town Madison will provide a mixture of affordable single-family and multifamily homes, townhomes, spacious luxury apartments, and condominiums around a village square. Home prices will range from $250,000 to $500,000.  

MidCity Huntsville

Certain to take significant shape throughout 2019, MidCity Huntsville is a dynamic 100-acre experiential mixed-use community right in the center of Huntsville. When finished, it will consist of a series of interconnected spaces and gathering places.

MidCity will feature dining, entertainment and recreation from names such as REI Co-op, Wahlburgers, Rascal Flatt’s, and High Point Climbing and Fitness.

Already in operation is Top Golf, a sports entertainment center with climate-controlled golf-ball hitting bays, a full-service restaurant and bar, private event spaces and meeting rooms; a rooftop terrace with fire pit, hundreds of HDTVs, and free wi-fi.

The development will also offer bike and walking trails, a park, an 8,500-seat open-air amphitheater, and The Stage for outdoor music and entertainment.

Area 120 is a science and technology accelerator with some 200,000 square feet of space for R&D and startups.

The Promenade with its hardscaped space will accommodate local farmers markets and Huntsville’s growing food truck fleet. You will also find luxury apartments and a hotel.

GE Aviation

Two years ago, GE Aviation announced it had almost cracked the code to mass producing the unique ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components used in jet propulsion engines, and when they did, the company would build two facilities in Huntsville to produce them.

Last May, GE Aviation announced they will open a 100-acre factory complex, destined to be the only location in the U.S. to produce these ultra-lightweight CMC components, which can withstand extremely high temperatures.

Investment in the project is expected to reach $200 million. GE Aviation currently employs 90 people at the Huntsville site and is expected to reach 300 at full production.

Facebook

Facebook will invest $750 million into a large-scale data center in Huntsville that will bring an estimated 100 high-paying jobs to the area.

The Huntsville City Council gave unanimous approval for Facebook to purchase 340 acres in the North Huntsville Industrial Park for $8.5 million. They began construction on the 970,000-square-foot facility in late 2018.

“We believe in preparing our community for the challenges ahead,” said Battle. “Our Gig City initiative to provide city-wide high-speed connectivity is an example of that.”

The Downtown Madison Sealy Project

When the City of Madison announced that changes to the west side of Sullivan Street between Kyser Boulevard and Gin Oaks Court would pave the way for more commercial/retail space, it marked the beginning of a long-term improvement and expansion project for downtown Madison that would pick up steam in 2018.

Known as the Downtown Madison Sealy Project, it is the latest in a series of mixed-use developments about to hit downtown, extending from the east side of Sullivan Street to Short Street.

The city is making improvements to accommodate the 10,000 square-foot development which includes 190 upscale apartments and more than 10,000 square feet of retail space.

GATR Technologies

In April, Huntsville-based GATR Technologies announced it would be quadrupling its production capacity in Cummings Research Park to nearly 100,000 square feet.

The inflatable portable satellite innovator was acquired by Cubic Mission Solutions in 2016 and has grown from 80 employees in 2016 to 157 in 2018. GATR is projected to employ more than 200 people by October 2019.

GATR will soon be delivering systems by the thousands to the U. S. government, military, and any entity that benefits from deployable communications, such as in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Electro Optic Systems

In June, Electro Optic Systems announced it will build its flagship production facility at on Wall Triana Highway in Huntsville.

The Australian aerospace technology and defense company expects to hire up to 100 fulltime employees in its first year and is scaled to grow to at least 250 employees quickly.

EOS has been producing software, lasers, electronics, optronics, gimbals, telescopes, beam directors, and stabilization and precision mechanisms for the military space, missile defense, and surface warfare sectors for more than 20 years.

BAE Systems

BAE Systems, the third-largest defense contractor in the world, broke ground on a $45.5 million expansion of its existing facilities in CRP in July. The growth is expected to create hundreds of jobs.

The new 83,000-square-foot facility is the first phase of a multi-phase growth plan to expand its existing offices on Discovery Drive and develop a new state-of-the-art manufacturing and office space facility in CRP to increase their capacity. An unused adjacent 20-acre lot will provide room for yet more expansion soon. Construction of the new building is expected to be complete in 2019.

Radiance Technologies

Employee-owned defense contractor Radiance Technologies broke ground in July on their first comprehensive headquarters in Huntsville.

The new 100,000 square foot building in CRP will, for the first time, allow the company’s 300 employees, all of whom have operated at remote locations in Huntsville since 1999, to collaborate under the same roof as they provide innovative technology to the Department of Defense, NASA, and national intelligence agencies.

South Memorial Parkway Expansion

The short but significant widening and redesign of the main line of South Memorial Parkway caused many headaches for residents and business owners over the past 2½ years, but in late July, that stretch between Golf Road and Whitesburg Drive officially re-opened.

The $54 million project opened a gateway of uninterrupted traffic through South Huntsville, providing easier accessibility to South Huntsville businesses, schools, and residential areas.

“South Parkway being fully open is a game-changer for businesses and drivers in South Huntsville,” said Claire Aiello, vice president of Marketing and Communications at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce.

Looking to 2019

“Our objective has been to build on the community’s traditional industries such as aerospace and defense, while creating more opportunities in the semi-skilled and skilled sectors of the economy,” said Cherry. “We excelled in all of these areas in 2018. The year will go down in the record books as among the most vibrant economic development years in our history. The companies that selected our community for their new location or expansion will create over 5,400 new jobs and invest over $2.7 billion in new buildings and equipment. These investments and jobs will have a profound impact on our quality of life for decades to come.”

“Cummings Research Park is now at 91 percent occupancy,” said Aiello. “We are making a big focus on new amenities for employees at CRP to keep them engaged and to give them things to do in the park besides work. That will be something to look forward to in 2019.”

And according to Battle, “2019 is going to be a good year. Let’s just keep it at that!”

A landmark groundbreaking for Madison, Duluth Trading Co.

Duluth Trading Co. will open its first Alabama retail store in Town Madison next year.

 

MADISON — It was a “less than perfect weather day but a perfect day for a groundbreaking.”

With those remarks, Madison Chamber of Commerce Board President Carmelita Palmer opened a landmark groundbreaking ceremony Friday.

The Duluth Trading Co., an innovative apparel retailer noted for its unique TV commercials (the store has a link to the commercials on is website – https://www.duluthtrading.com/TV+Ads.html) will open a 15,000-square-foot retail store in the city’s Town Madison development.

“We are so excited,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley. “To have Duluth come here … when people heard Duluth Trading was coming here, there is so much excitement.”

The store, Duluth Trading’s first in the state, will join Home2 Suites Hilton, convenience store Twice Daily and other offices and retailers in West End at Town Madison, which adjoins the Intergraph/Hexagon campus along Interstate-565. Duluth Trading is slated to open around the middle of next year.

“This is an exciting day for Town Madison,” said Joey Ceci, representing developer Louis Breland. “You couldn’t pick a better retailer” to join the project’s lineup.

Town Madison is a 563-acre modern, walkable, urban community which will also be the home of the minor league baseball Rocket City Trash Pandas and a Margaritaville Hotel.

Minnesota-based Oppidan Investment Co., a national property development firm, is the project developer.

Like everyone else at the ceremony, the 40-degree, rainy weather was on the mind of Oppidan’s Jay Moore – but in a different way.

“This is nice weather; it’s a switch for us,” he said.

Moore said Duluth was looking around the area for its first Alabama retail store before deciding on Madison.

“We approached Breland about a year ago,” he said. “We are super proud to be one of the first retailers in this fine development.”

From left, Chamber Board President Carmelita Palmer, Mayor Paul Finley, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong and Oppidan’s Jay Moore take part in the groundbreaking ceremony.

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said the store will enable the development to become an economic engine and a destination.

“This is the start of a destination location,” he said. “To Duluth, this is a great investment. You’ll never regret it.”

Despite the grey skies and gloomy weather, Finley reflected the optimism of the big event and the future it beckons.

“This is a sun shiny day for the city of Madison.”

Welcome the Rocket City Trash Pandas!

 

MADISON – In front of a packed Rocket Republic Brewery crowd, the Rocket City Trash Pandas was unveiled as the name of the new baseball team.

And Ralph Nelson, the managing partner/CEO of BallCorps, LLC, the team’s owner, wasn’t particularly enthralled with the name when it was nominated.

“When I first heard it, it didn’t do a lot for me,” he said at Wednesday’s unveiling celebration.

But now?

“This is all we care about,” Nelson said. “They voted for Rocket City; they voted for Trash Pandas.

“That’s going to be the team now.”

On BallCorps’ website, NorthAlabamaBaseball.com, 28,560 nominations and votes were recorded in three
rounds since the stadium groundbreaking June 9. According to Brandiose of San Diego, the Minor League Baseball industry’s premiere branding partner, this represents – by far – the largest community participation in a Name the Team contest in the history of Minor League Baseball.

“(Trash Pandas) won by a ’84 Reagan landslide,” Nelson said. “There’s never been a community like this in minor league baseball.”

Trash Pandas was nominated by Matthew Higley of Lacey’s Spring on June 19. He will receive two box seats for the first five years of play in Madison and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Trash Pandas home game in 2020.
Trash Pandas dominated both rounds of voting. In the round of 10, Trash Pandas received 41.37 percent of the votes. The second-place name (ThunderSharks) received 13.81 percent.

In the round of five, Trash Pandas received 44.75 percent, to second-place ThunderSharks’ 19.25 percent. Moon Possums was third (12.57 percewnt); Space Chimps fourth (12.05 percent); and, Comet Jockeys was fifth (11.38 percent).

The regional identifier was also chosen by the community. More than 250 fans suggested Rocket City during the nominating round. The identifier was put to a vote during the round of ten; and, out of 13,559 votes, 67.4 percent chose Rocket City, over North Alabama (18.09 percent) and Madison (14.51 percent).

Trash Pandas, slang for raccoon, was included in the original 10 nominations following several Brandiose-
led focus groups in Madison and Huntsville. The ballot descriptor read: Our community is known for engineering, and no creature in our galaxy is as smart, creative, determined and ingenious a problem solver – dedicated to the challenge at hand – as our local raccoons!

Brandiose is working with BallCorps on logo designs for the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Logos
and merchandise will be unveiled on Oct. 27 at a free community celebration at 6 p.m. at Dublin Park in Madison. The event will feature a free concert by popular Huntsville band Dirt Circus and a fireworks extravaganza, as well as the first opportunity for fans to purchase official licensed Rocket City Trash Panda merchandise.

“We’re going to have a big ol’ party …,” Nelson said.

BallCorps will open a merchandise store next to the Apple Store at Bridge Street on Nov. 12 and, Nov. 17, the team will begin taking season ticket deposits at $250 per seat.

Seat locations will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis for those making deposits. More information on the Bridge Street store and season ticket policy will be forthcoming in coming weeks.

Construction underway on Madison baseball stadium

MADISON – With the announcement of the new baseball team’s logo and nickname on the horizon, construction is underway on the new Madison baseball stadium.

The $46 million stadium will be located within the Town Madison development off of I-565, next to the new Zierdt Road Interchange.

With a capacity of about 7,000 people, the new stadium will host soccer, football, concerts and other events in addition to Minor League Baseball.

The club level and suite spaces can also be used for meetings, providing area businesses and private groups with meeting space for up to 400 people for a sit-down meal.

“This venue will make a major impact on the community of Madison and the surrounding area,” said Mayor Paul Finley. “In addition to bringing AA minor league baseball back to the Tennessee Valley, it will provide much needed community space and daily fun, family-type events.”

The venue design has multiple seating options including group celebration decks, corporate suites, intimate table tops, a party bar, and grass berm areas in addition to the normal general admission seating. Families will enjoy picnic tables for birthday parties located next to a large kid’s playground.

Turner Construction’s North Alabama office is the construction manager agent for the development.

“We have enjoyed working with the professionals from Turner as we bring baseball back to North Alabama,” said Ralph Nelson, managing partner/CEO of BallCorps, LLC. “Turner has been in the trenches with us since the beginning. They have worked well with the City of Madison, our lead designer, Populous, and BallCorps on making this a first class facility while maintaining budget consciousness.

“We are excited that the project is currently ahead of schedule and looking better every day.”

Turner has performed work on more than 450 sports facilities, including professional, collegiate and community ballparks, stadiums, arenas, training facilities and fitness centers as well as speedways, racetracks, and large high
school facilities. Its clients include teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS.

“Our office employs many North Alabama natives and long-term residents, so we’re especially excited to be a part of this significant project that allows our employees to make a positive impact on the community,” said Lee Holland, project executive for Turner North Alabama.

Completion of the stadium is slated for December 2019.

Hoar Construction is the general contractor for the stadium and handling the actual construction of the stadium.

Turner, the construction manager agent for the entire development (the ballpark and surrounding residential, retail and commercial buildings), is working with architectural design firm Populous and engineers Mullins, LLC (civil engineer), Thornton Tomasetti (structural engineer) and Henderson Engineers (MEP, fire protection and audio visual engineer).

Top Ten nickname finalists for new baseball team revealed

MADISON — The 10 finalists in the BallCorps LLC “Name the Team” contest have been revealed.

Ballcorps is the owner of the Southern League baseball franchise to be relocated from Mobile to Madison for the 2020 season. All names were nominated by residents of the Tennessee Valley.

Working with Brandiose of San Diego, the Minor League Baseball industry’s premiere branding partner, 10 names were selected based on uniqueness and how each name relates to the characteristics of Madison and surrounding communities.

In a press release, the BallCorps said the names were chosen to further its goal of providing affordable fun to families in North Alabama and southern Tennessee.

Voting on the finalists will extend through noon Aug. 16, after which five names will be eliminated, and the five leading names will be open for voting. The team name will be announced at a public event on Sept. 5.

To vote, visit www.northalabamabaseball.com

The top 10 names in alphabetical order are:
Army Ants The Army’s Redstone Arsenal serves as a center for missile and national defense programs and employs more than 40,000 members of our community.
Comet Jockeys “Rocket City” was put on the map for its cutting-edge aerospace development. Comet Jockeys is a celebration of our brave astronauts who explore outer space.
GloWorms Glow worms are rare tiny bioluminescent creatures that call the caves at Dismals Canyon in North Alabama home, one of few places in North America.
Lunartics We are home to some of the wildest mad scientists facing today’s challenges in space and technology.
Moon Possums A scavenger at heart, these local critters are known for hanging around and having a good time with their family.
Puffy Head Bird Legs No joke! It’s lingo coined by our astronauts for body fluid moving from feet to head in outer space due to the lack of gravity!
Space Chimps A tribute to Miss Baker, one of the first animals safely launched into space. She is buried on the grounds at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
Space Sloths A nod to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Space Sloths is up there with classic Minor League Baseball names like IronPigs, Flying Squirrels, Chihuahuas and Jumbo Shrimp.
ThunderSharks Mix the powerful thunder of North Alabama’s storms with the ultra-strong, sleek determination of the shark and you end up with the personality of our community: willing to attack any problem.
Trash Pandas (Slang for raccoon) Our community is known for engineering, and no creature in our galaxy is as smart, creative, determined and ingenious a problem solver – dedicated to the challenge at hand – as our local raccoons.

Madison ballpark: They haven’t built it, but hundreds did come

MADISON – If the line of cars on Zierdt Road and the hundreds of people who showed up for a groundbreaking ceremony were any indication, baseball has definitely returned to North Alabama.

Close to 1,000 future fans of the yet-t0-be-named minor league baseball team turned out Saturday as BallCorps Inc. and the city of Madison broke ground for a $46 million baseball/multi-use facility. Fans received commemorative baseballs as well as free hot dogs and soft drinks.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Madison baseball facility was held Saturday. Photo by Marianne Higgins

The groundbreaking event took place at the site of the facility  – a “barren field,” as Madison Mayor Paul Finley put it – along Interstate 565 and Zierdt Road.

It is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019 and the complex will include a Hotel Margaritaville. Plans are for the facility to hold other events, outside the 70 regular season baseball games.

“There will be movies in the park, car shows, Scouting events; companies can hold events at the facility,” Finley said. “This venue will make a difference in the quality of life” in Madison.

Ralph Nelson, the managing partner and CEO of BallCorps – the team’s owner, was emotional as he spoke.

“I have just two words: thank you,” he said. “Thank you for inviting us into your community and thank you for welcoming us into your community.”

Then, Nelson, who has been involved in professional baseball for a quarter of a century, paused.

“This is the best day in my baseball career,” he said. “In 675 days (June 19, 2020), we’re going to be playing ball in Madison.”

Artist’s rendering shows Madison’s new baseball stadium with a swimming pool behind the centerfield scoreboard.

Madison sets groundbreaking for development, baseball stadium

MADISON — The first pitch won’t be thrown for another two years, but progress continues to round the bases for Madison’s multi-use development, including a baseball stadium for the city’s new minor league team.

City officials have set a groundbreaking for June 9 at the site of Town Madison, adjacent to I-565 and Zierdt Road. The event, which will feature ballpark fare such as popcorn and hot dogs, starts at 5 p.m. and the public is welcome.

“Breaking ground on this project is momentous, and we appreciate the work that has led us to this point,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley. “Celebrating with our community while enjoying free ballpark food like hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy is a fantastic way to rally together to start the process.”

A $46 million stadium, which will be the home of the minor league team, is the keystone of the development and is scheduled to be completed late next year.

BallCorps LLC, the owner of the Southern League’s Mobile BayBears, is moving the team to Madison and it will begin play in the 2020 season.

“Minor league baseball belongs back in North Alabama and we are thrilled to be a part of its return to the region,” said BallCorps Managing Partner and CEO Ralph Nelson. “We are excited to reveal more details about the team, its total integration into the community and to celebrate the start of construction.”

There will be a contest to name the team and commemorative baseballs will be given out to those who attend the groundbreaking celebration.