City of Florence gives UNA land to relocate Mike D. Lane field

UNA’s new baseball field will be located off of Cox Creek Parkway in Florence, Alabama. The field will be a part of a “spring sports complex” that includes the softball field and the beach volleyball courts. 

Editor-in-Chief Harley Duncan

The Florence City Council unanimously voted yesterday to gift a portion of land to the University of North Alabama at the Cox Creek Sports Complex for the relocation of UNA’s baseball field, which is currently located off of Pine Street on the university’s campus.

The ordinance will transfer ownership of the land from the city to the university. Bill Musgrove, Florence’s attorney, sponsored the ordinance.

UNA’s plan is to create a “spring sports complex” that would feature softball, beach volleyball and baseball. Softball and beach volleyball are currently at the Cox Creek location.

Dick Jordan, council president, said it is “a good fit” to consolidate UNA’s sports into one location.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Mayor Steve Holt. “It allows UNA to put multiple sports there, and that’s not an area we’re using. That should work out well for all of us.”

Florence resident Bill Smoak told the council they should reconsider giving the land to UNA. He said the land should have sold at a fair-market price since the city owned it.

“I have no problem with them moving the field,” Smoak said. “My concern is it going to Cox Creek Park. That’s a city park, and if you go through it and look at it, it’s not a big area.”

Some of Smoak’s concerns were the park would lose the playground and skate park, which he said the city has already invested money into.

According to The Times Daily, Musgrove said in a work session before the meeting that the skate park and famer’s market will be unaffected.

The city put a restriction in the deed that would give it the option to reclaim the property if a stadium is not completed within five years.

Mark Linder, UNA’s athletic director, said Head Coach Mike Keehn is aware of the plan to move Mike D. Lane field and he supports it.

According to roarlions.com, renovations to Mike D. Lane field were made in 2008, which included new grandstands, a ticket booth, restrooms and an entrance way.

The field was renamed Mike D. Lane field March 11, 2008 after longtime head coach Mike Lane, who coached UNA baseball from 1984-2008.

Linder said the university has diagrams of what the new baseball stadium would look like, but he does not have any further specific details.