BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Birmingham City Council took a big step toward agreeing to help financially support the construction of a new stadium and expansion of the BJCC in downtown Birmingham.
The council voted 7-1 to back the project with Councilwoman Lashunda Scales abstaining from the vote.
A second vote will be necessary to approve specific amounts funding.
The stadium initially faced criticism after Mayor Randall Woodfin called for spending $90 million on a downtown stadium over 30 years.
Mayor Woodfin campaigned for mayor saying he would put neighborhoods and communities first. He believes supporting this development would lead to more money down the road to help improve all parts of the city.
"We need to invest in real economic development so the return on tourism, conventions, events, and sports happen so you can get additional funding to go to our priorities," said Mayor Woodfin.
Opponents critical of the proposed funding say the money could be better used for items that would improve the quality of life for residents, such as education or road improvements.
Around $175 million is needed to construct a new stadium.
A theoretical clock is ticking on making the stadium a reality. If the council doesn't move quickly to approve funding, the price of any stadium or expansion could go up because interest rates could increase down the road.
Also, Jefferson County's agreement to help fund construction expires if ground isn't broken by the end of 2018.