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Linden council to step in on football field usage predicament

LINDEN – The location of Linden High School’s 2011 home football schedule remains up in the air after days of deliberations on the matter.

Word broke earlier in the week that the Patriots intended to shift their home games away from their customary backdrop at Linden Athletic Field.

The field, which is owned by the Linden Athletic Association, had undergone a series of changes since the conclusion of last season. The biggest of the alterations came in the removal of the visitor’s side stands. According to Linden Athletic Association president Hale Smith, the stands were removed after the group was informed the bleachers were uninsurable.

“It is really unfortunate that Linden has chosen not to play at the field this year,” Smith said late Tuesday evening. “We’ve made numerous improvements to the 2,000-seat stadium. But we do not have the funds this year to build a new set of bleachers on the visitor’s side to replace the old ones. We were hoping that the 2,000 seats on the traditional home side would accommodate everybody.”

Smith met with representatives from Linden City Schools Wednesday afternoon in an effort to resolve the issues that led the Patriots to seek new refuge for 2011.

“All issues have been resolved and now the ball is in their court,” Smith said following the meeting. “They’ve indicated that they feel like they will play the rest of their games there. I have not gotten final word on that. We’re working hard to work together to make this thing work. The Linden Athletic Association has committed to cooperating with Linden High School to resolve all issues.”

The issue of the lack of stands on the visitors’ side of the field has led the Linden Athletic Association to find alternative seating options for fans of the away team.

“They are going to bring in bleachers from Scott Park in Linden,” Smith said.

While Smith and the LAA anticipate an agreement has been reached, the Marengo County Schools Board of Education met Thursday evening, voting to allow the Patriots to play their home games at Marengo High School in Dixon’s Mills.

Linden played its regular season opener, a home game, on the road at Central-Tuscaloosa High School. Unless an agreement can be reached prior to next Friday night, the Patriots will likely host Fruitdale at Marengo High School.

The Linden City Council will hold a special called meeting at the Linden City School Board Building at 5 p.m. Monday to discuss the situation involving the Patriots and Linden Athletic Field.