Barons meet with Birmingham leaders over new stadium - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Barons meet with Birmingham leaders over new stadium

By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The push to bring the Birmingham Barons baseball team to a new downtown stadium is gathering more momentum.

Thursday the Barons leadership met with city councilors to gauge their interest in the project, and the success of the new Railroad Park is helping the stadium project gain support.

Over peanuts, cracker jacks, and a soda, the Barons managing partner had a series of face to face meetings with Birmingham city councilors Thursday morning about the idea of a downtown ballpark, an idea that is a lot closer to reality with the support of the council.

"I think it's good, I think it would be a good partnership for us," said City Councilor Steven Hoyt. "Just think about all of the transformation that takes place in and around it, I think it's a win-win situation."

"We're still intrigued by it," said Barons' managing partner Stan Logan. "We haven't seen anything that puts us off, it's still pretty much the same feeling we had before we started the process. It's still an intriguing idea."

If it's built, Barons officials and the city want to build the stadium downtown to maximize its drawing power.

"I do think after visiting Railroad Park as many times as I have in the last 3 weeks, you can just see it happening," said City Councilor Kim Rafferty.  "And it's not just if you build it they will come, it's that they are here and ready to move in so we need to make sure we are hospitable and give them a house to live in.

"I think it's a wonderful idea," said Birmingham native Alec Grant, visiting Railroad Park for the first time Thursday. "I think it would revitalize downtown as long as the park is in a location where it's easily accessible to people, they can walk to it, and from the ballgame they can go to places in town."

"Good idea," said Sherea Lando, another Railroad Park visitor. "It'll give us some spotlight, that's it. We've been waiting for it, we need it, and yes I will support that, definetly."

The Barons ownership says it wants to make a decision as soon as possible. The $40 million or so pricetag on the stadium would be paid for by increasing the city's lodging tax.

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