The city of Tuscaloosa took a major step toward building a potential conference center and athletic facility this week.

During the Tuscaloosa City Council Finance Committee meeting Tuesday, the committee approved a $110,000 contract agreement with CH Johnson Consulting Firm for a feasibility study regarding the proposed facilities.

The conference center and an athletic facility were part of the Elevate Tuscaloosa proposal.

“(The consulting firm) will go through a marketing analysis to determine demographics, trends as it relates to sports tourism, and the conference component,” said Tuscaloosa Executive Director of Urban Development Brendan Moore. “It will determine if we need a facility, or if we need something different that we haven’t looked at, or if we don’t need anything at all.”

The study is looking at key stakeholders affected by the potential new facilities within the community, like elected officials, the tourism and business industries, lodging industries and educational facilities.

“We would not move to Phase 2, where we would actually look at sites and costs and operating, unless the market has been validated,” Moore said.

The study’s parameters and cost will be brought up next week at Tuscaloosa City Council for final approval. If approved, it will begin in February and will take about nine months to complete.

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