Former Huntsville mayor honored in new naming of soccer complex

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Former Huntsville mayor Loretta P. Spencer’s name now adorns the city’s championship soccer complex. (City of Huntsville)

The City of Huntsville approved an ordinance this week renaming the soccer complex at John Hunt Park after former Huntsville mayor Loretta Spencer.

Spencer served as Huntsville’s mayor from 1996 to 2008, and it’s fitting that her tribute have something to do with sports. Here’s why:

Former Huntsville mayor Loretta Spencer’s legacy

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Spencer was instrumental in the development of John Hunt Park, now home to the ASHAA soccer championships. (Michael Seale/Hville Blast)

So what’s the significance of naming the John Hunt Soccer Complex after Spencer?

During her tenure, Spencer began a master planning process to convert the City’s old airport into John Hunt Park, established the Huntsville Sports Commission and successfully recruited the first Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) State Soccer Championship to Huntsville in 2001.

When Spencer first landed the AHSAA State Soccer Championship 22 years ago, wrestling it away from a long run in Montgomery, the soccer complex at the old airport consisted of two mediocre fields and modest bleachers surrounded by an 8-foot chain link fence.

Today the newly named Loretta P. Spencer Sports Complex has two lighted championship multi-purpose turf fields and two new artificial turf fields under construction. These will be ready for tournament play in spring 2024.

Spencer’s accomplishments recognized by City Council

The soccer complex at John Hunt Park has come a long way. (City of Huntsville)

Mayor Tommy Battle acknowledged Spencer’s significant contribution to Huntsville’s sports culture and John Hunt Park itself.

“Loretta looked ahead to the future and saw what John Hunt Park could become. She was instrumental in shaping its destiny and the growth of sports in Huntsville. This recognition is well deserved.”

Mayor Tommy Battle

Spencer was on hand at the City Council meeting and said she was honored and humbled by the recognition, and looks back fondly on her accomplishments as mayor.

“Forming the Sports Commission is one of the accomplishments I am proudest of. Constructing the fields was critical in allowing us to recruit our first state soccer tournament to Huntsville. The Commission has continued to work diligently to bring outside dollars into our community and put us on the map in the sports tourism industry.”

Former Huntsville mayor Loretta Spencer

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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