Jefferson County approves $30 million to help pay for downtown B'ham stadium

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Thursday was a big day for anyone backing a new stadium in downtown Birmingham. All five Jefferson County Commissioners voted to spend $30 million dollars over three decades to help pay for it.

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens said this is not a waste of taxpayers dollars. "An economic engine for bringing people into the Jefferson County to spend their money and raise the tax base of Jefferson County," Stephens said.

Stephens said UAB will play at least six games a year at the stadium and the Birmingham Bowl will move from Legion Field.

Commissioner David Carrington said other sports and events will also use the facility. "There is soccer. There is extreme sports. Commissioner Stephens mentioned the outdoor concerts. I remember the Rolling Stones coming here. You are not going to get the Rolling Stones in the BJCC Arena," Carrington said.

The commission voted for the commitment to push the project forward and put pressure on the city of Birmingham to commit additional funding.

"We are on a limited time frame. The ground must be broken if we are going to be there for the World Games," Stephens said.

The clock is definitely ticking for this huge project for Birmingham. The commissioners decided if there is no construction in 2018, they will walk away from that $30 million commitment.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin released a statement about the stadium. "I'm encouraged with what the county has done. So far as city leaders, it's important that the council and I not only talk, but that we also move to action," Woodfin said.

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