By Jonathan Hardison
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Two Jefferson County mayors say they feel excluded by the Birmingham Business Alliance after what they call a 'snub' during the Indy car race in Birmingham last weekend.
The BBA hosted a dinner for economic recruiters this past weekend, but the mayors of Leeds and Irondale say they weren't invited. They don't understand why. Last weekend's Indy car race at Barber Motorsports Park drew more than 88,000 fans to the track.
Leeds borders the track and saw a an increase in sales tax revenue.
But instead of celebrating the success, Leeds' Mayor Eric Patterson says he was left out of what may have been the race's longest-lasting impact, recruiting new companies to his city.
"I'm really disappointed because most of the development around this park is in our front yard," Leeds Mayor Eric Patterson said. "In fact all of it is. This is all Leeds that you see."
Mayor Patterson refers to a dinner hosted by the BBA on Saturday night for economic development leaders and recruiters from around the country. Governor Riley and the mayors of Birmingham and Hoover were invited. Mayor Patterson was not.
"This is our jurisdiction, and I don't understand why we were left out," Patterson said. "And I do think there was some favoritism going on and I think that, I don't think there's any excuse for us being left out. If it'd been held in McCalla, if it was held in Hoover, then I wouldn't expect to be invited. I wouldn't expect to be notified. But the fact that it was held here, where it was, I'm very disappointed in it."
Irondale's Mayor Tommy Joe Alexander told FOX6 News' partner, Birmingham Business Journal, that he also feels snubbed because his city borders the track area.
He doesn't understand why an organization meant to help the 7-county Birmingham region couldn't have included leaders from the 2 cities closest to the event.
BBA spokesperson Dave Rickey gave FOX6 News this statement Wednesday afternoon:
"This event was a private dinner and we were limited in the number of people we could host. These were corporate consultants and site consultants. We did not intentionally exclude anyone in particular, we had a limited number of invites. The event was not to promote a specific site, but to introduce these people to the entire 7-county region. It was a great event and we hope to do it next year on a larger scale."