Birmingham Council Approves $90 Million For Stadium, BJCC Expansion
The City of Birmingham will contribute $90 million toward a new downtown stadium and an expansion of the BJCC. The council voted 6 to 3 on Monday for the plan following a four-hour debate that was contentious at times.
Council members Valerie Abbott, John Hilliard, Steven Hoyt, William Parker, Jay Roberson and Hunter Williams voted for the plan,. Council members Darrell O’Quinn, Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson opposed it.
Mayor Randall Woodfin lobbied for approval for the funding, which has the city pay $3 million annually for 30 years. Scales, a Woodfin supporter on the council, Lashunda Scales, said the mayor is not keeping his promise to prioritize neighborhoods. She also said Birmingham needs more representation on the BJCC board, which will govern the project. Councilman Roberson serves on the BJCC board, and the mayor is an ex-officio member of the board.
Councilman John Hilliard said Birmingham needs to expand its civic center to compete with Southeastern cities such as Memphis and Nashville to lure bigger events.
“All of them are expanding their footprint with their convention centers,” Hilliard said. “We’re not doing anything. We’re being left out of the market place while we sit here and talk.”
Woodfin said the BJCC expansion and downtown stadium will bring in an additional $9 million to $10 million a year. The council voted unanimously on Tuesday to earmark that money for neighborhood revitalization.
Development Planned for Blighted Sites North of Downtown
Change may be on the way for two sites in north Birmingham. Corporate Realty is preparing to redevelop the former Carraway Hospital site. Another group is planning lofts at the old Kirby School and a former armory site in Norwood.
WBHM’s “On The Line” Talk Show Tackles Uneven Birmingham Revival
Walk around downtown Birmingham and there’s an energy you wouldn’t have felt a few years ago. Residents are moving to new lofts and apartments. Restaurants and retailers are opening. People do yoga at Railroad Park or take in a ballgame at Region’s Field. They’re visible signs of a Birmingham revival. But that revival is uneven. Talk to some in neighborhoods away from Downtown and they’ll say “revival” doesn’t mean much to them. No fancy lofts, just abandoned homes and potholed roads that never seem to be fixed. And all this takes place against the backdrop of Birmingham’s racial history, with investment, by-and-large, coming from whites in a city that’s been majority black for a generation.
Birmingham Revitalization: City Investments at Work in West Birmingham
Birmingham’s western business district is one of the city’s oldest. At one time, a thriving community of working class families surrounded it. A shopping mall anchored the retail center, and businesses, large and small, lined Third Avenue West. Now, it’s a different story. The area has been in decline for decades. In 2011, the city Birmingham spent $46 million on the Birmingham Metro CrossPlex sports facility in hopes of giving the area an economic boost.