Birmingham Barons General Manager Stan Logan met with Birmingham city leaders Thursday to discuss a possible move back to the downtown area if a baseball stadium were built near Railroad Park according to The Birmingham News.
The proposed facility would be publicly funded, and is up to the city council whether the project can continue because a final vote has not been cast on a lodging tax that would have to be increased to help fund the stadium.
The discussion comes with a little surprise for this writer who believes the fate of Birmingham died with the failed-so-far face-lift of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex and downtown areas.
The North side of town has never been a destination part of town, and a simple baseball park will not change its destiny—at least not without major renovations to the area.
For someone who owns a deep history with the area, this writer believes the city has much more work to do before Birmingham becomes what it once was in the 1970s. I have attended numerous sporting events at the BJCC, as well as City Stages and Crawfish Boil music festivals. I have also been to the Rickwood Classic at historic Rickwood Field.
Can the city of Birmingham afford to put together a complex giving folks a reason to visit the area? Absolutely. I have always been a proponent of building the downtown shopping area with a renovated BJCC and possible baseball park.
Then again—I have been to Oklahoma City, and Bricktown is the most elaborate small-town feel in a major league city I have ever experienced.
If Birmingham would put the effort out, people will respond.
Is building a baseball stadium the way to go at this point? Perhaps. But do not expect a baseball field to revive an area plagued by illegal drugs and the homeless wandering around.
Mayor William Bell must realize Birmingham needs to become a place known for its future as well as its history.
Until then, the Magic City will always be known as the city that could have been.
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