Birmingham to get site visit as potential host of 2016 DNC

Published: Jun. 25, 2014 at 8:44 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2014 at 3:25 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Mayor William Bell's office confirms Birmingham will be one of three cities bidding to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention to get a site visit.

Representatives from the DNC are expected make their site visit to Birmingham sometime during the next two to four weeks.

Bell says the site visit will emphasize the benefit of the convention for Birmingham businesses.

"One, to put Birmigham on the map on the national and international level. Two, economic impact for our region and then showcase the city for the great city we know it is," Bell said.

The economic impact of hosting the convention is expected to be between $150-230 million for the Magic City.

The city and the private sector would have to come up with about $79 million to host the convenction.

But of that $79 million, city leaders say they expect $49 million to come from Homeland Security to provide security for the convention, so they would only need to raise about $30 million.

Mayor Bell says there are 17,000 hotel rooms available in the Birmingham metro area, which is enough to house the amount of people expected for the convention.

The mayor has also looked at designs for possible additions to the BJCC arena that could happen to accomodate the Democrats.

Bell said Birmingham is the only Deep South city to make a bid for the DNC convention.

While some still consider Birmingham's chances to win the bid a long shot, Mayor Bell said not to count out the Magic City.

"As I was driving here I thought about the Mike Tyson, Buster Douglas fight. Everybody said Douglas didn't have a chance. After a few rounds he was heavyweight champion," Bell said.

Birmingham is competing with New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio to win the bid.

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