Councilors concerned about baseball stadium

By Ashley Nix

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - At the Tuesday city council meeting, Birmingham City Councilors were asked to allocate $137,000 for an appraisal on land that could be used for a new baseball stadium downtown. Even though the vote passed, it drew dramatic responses to the project.

"I know you don't want the baseball field over near the edge of the hood," said Councilor Steven Hoyt. "But let's clean up the hood," he added.

Council President Roderick Royal says he wants more details on the plans and won't vote for the money.

"What's gonna draw the people? The team that's supposed to come is not a drawer, unless they start winning like real quick, fast in a hurry like yesterday."

It wasn't exactly the reaction Mayor William Bell expected.  He says the money is needed to find out if acquiring land near the city's Railroad Park is feasible.  But councilors weren't in agreeance, saying the money could be used to fund transit, Clastran or any other struggling city program.

Carole Smitherman says now isn't the time.

"Right now I think we have other pressing issues that we need to get down, we need to move the city forward, no doubt about it."

Hoyt says he would like to see the development spur a clean-up in surrounding neighborhoods, and if it doesn't, he's saying no.

"I'm not gonna move from that, I'm gonna stay on that until I die," said Hoyt.