Hoover's mayor discusses Mayor Bell's plans for new ballpark

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - This week, Birmingham city councilors voted to support Mayor William Bell's plan to increase the lodging tax to help fund a new ballpark downtown. They also reviewed a study that found a downtown ballpark would bring $500 million to the city over the next 30 years. Mayor Bell said the city won't spend any tax dollars on a ballpark without a team.

"We're not going to spend one penny on building a park unless we know we have a tenant," said Bell. "That tenant has to go through certain procedures both nationally and locally to get to a point to be able to make a commitment."

Hoover hopes the new stadium proposal isn't for the Barons. Mayor Tony Petelos and some Birmingham Barons are hoping the team stays in Hoover.

Petelos says the Barons' contract expires Dec. 31, but since there will be no new park, they will likely renew with the city of Hoover and Regions Park.
"We've had a great experience with the Barons and we hope they stay," said Petelos. "We have a great working relationship with Barons. I would be surprised if they move."

Fans in Hoover would like to see the team stay, while Birmingham fans hope the Barons move. Everyone agrees the team brings a big economic impact to whichever city they call home.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.