Difference between revisions of "Regions Field"

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[[Image:Downtown ballpark rendering.jpg|right|thumb|380px|Rendering of proposed downtown ballpark]]
 
[[Image:Downtown ballpark rendering.jpg|right|thumb|380px|Rendering of proposed downtown ballpark]]
The idea of building a new '''downtown baseball park''' has been under serious consideration since [[2007]]. [[Robert Simon]] of [[Corporate Realty Development]] discussed the concept with the press in July [[2009]], saying that baseball parks have served as successful catalysts for economic development in many cities. A key feature of any new downtown park and would be the likelihood of nearby development accessible to pedestrians.
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The '''downtown baseball park''' is a planned stadium for the [[Birmingham Barons]] in [[downtown Birmingham]]. The Barons moved out of the city in [[1987]] after the City of [[Hoover]] constructed a [[Hoover Metropolitan Stadium|new ballpark]] and Birmingham leaders declined to invest in major upgrades to [[Rickwood Field]].
  
According to Simon, a number of sites have been considered, in particular a four-block area which includes the [[Merita Bakery]], between [[I-65]] and downtown's [[Railroad Park]], a major public space which opened in September [[2010]]. He held preliminary discussions with [[Don Logan]], owner of the [[Birmingham Barons]], but other than being "open to new ideas", Logan has made no statement of support for the idea of moving the team, which has played in [[Hoover]]'s 10,000 seat [[Regions Park]] since moving out of [[Rickwood Field]] in [[1988]]. If it made a bid to move the Barons, Birmingham would likely face a fight from Hoover, which has spent millions of dollars on upgrades to Regions Park.
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The idea of building a new downtown ballpark has been discussed somewhat earnestly since [[2007]] and was jump-started by [[Robert Simon]] of [[Corporate Realty Development]] in [[2009]]. CRD commissioned a feasibility and economic impact study, which indicated that such a facility and surrounding development could be a boon to the downtown area. Mayor [[William Bell]] pursued the project and proposed increasing the city's lodging tax by 4.5% to fund construction. His funding plan was approved by the [[Birmingham City Council]] on [[October 26]], [[2010]], and the city signed a tentative agreement with Barons owners [[Don Logan|Don]] and [[Stan Logan]] to relocate the team on [[November 4]].
  
Then-Birmingham Mayor [[Larry Langford]] said in 2009 that if a proposal were made, he would support it "100%". In September [[2010]] Mayor [[William Bell]] proposed raising the city's lodging tax from 3% to 7.5% (on top of state and county lodging taxes, which are currently 9.5%) in order to fund development of a baseball park as well as a [[Negro Leagues Museum]], and the proposed $70 million "[[The Marketplace|Marketplace]]" hotel and entertainment district at the [[Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex]]. The [[Birmingham City Council]]'s Budget and Finance Committee endorsed Bell's proposal. The [[BJCC Board]] endorsed the idea two days later.
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The site considered most advantageous is a four-block area which includes the [[Merita Bakery]], between [[I-65]] and the [[Railroad Park]], a major public space which opened in September [[2010]]. Bell has proposed making the ballpark a publicly-funded anchor for a major revitalization of the area between the Railroad Park and the [[Trinity Steel]] site in [[Titusville]], now a brownfield owned by the [[Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority]]. The area, which crosses [[I-65]], has been targeted for development of a green corridor paralleling the [[Railroad Reservation]]. The larger plan was dubbed the "[[Parkside District]]" in Bell's announcement. Private development  of mixed-use residential, restaurant and retail space would be supported by master planning work, infrastructure upgrades and economic incentives provided by the city.
  
In talking to the press after the committee meeting, Bell hinted that former [[Birmingham Black Baron]] [[Willie Mays]] might participate in the project. [[Stan Logan]], when asked for comment on the proposal, told ''[[The Birmingham News]]'' that he had had no contact with the city, but would listen to any offers made. [[UAB Blazers|UAB]] athletic director [[Brian Mackin]] also said he had not talked to Bell, but would welcome a discussion about the [[UAB Blazers baseball team]] using a downtown stadium.
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Previously, Bell told the council that a [[Negro Leagues Museum]] would also be part of the ballpark complex. [[UAB Blazers|UAB]] athletic director [[Brian Mackin]] also said he had not talked to Bell, but would welcome a discussion about the [[UAB Blazers baseball team]] using a downtown stadium.  
  
Meanwhile, architect [[Craig Krawczyk]] has used his own spare time to design and render a personal proposal for a downtown baseball park which he would place on the north side of downtown, near the [[Civil Rights District]], to take advantage of better views to the city's [[List of buildings by height|skyline]] and existing amenities in the [[theater district]].
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It has been said that a new park could open as soon as [[2012]]. Hoover Mayor [[Tony Petelos]] told the press that his city had invested $6 million in improvements at Regions Park and would not necessarily be amenable to signing a short-term lease with the Barons that would allow the team to move before [[2016]].  
  
In October, Stan Logan did meet with Bell and several City Council members and said the team had some interest in the potential of a downtown ballpark and would continue studying the idea. Hoover Mayor [[Tony Petelos]] told the press that his city had invested $6 million in improvements at Regions Park and would not necessarily be amenable to signing a short-term lease that would allow the team to move before [[2016]].
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<!--Meanwhile, architect [[Craig Krawczyk]] has used his own spare time to design and render a personal proposal for a downtown baseball park which he would place on the north side of downtown, near the [[Civil Rights District]], to take advantage of better views to the city's [[List of buildings by height|skyline]] and existing amenities in the [[theater district]].-->
 
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==Parkside District==
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In late October, Bell presented a more elaborate plan to the City Council calling for a baseball park to become the centerpiece of a larger redevelopment plan for the area between the Railroad Park on the east and the [[Trinity Steel site]] in [[Titusville]] to the west. The park could be located at either end of the development, depending on the land acquisition process. The Trinity site is already owned by the [[Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority]]. The city would create a master plan and recruit developers to build mixed-use residential, restaurant and retail space.
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The Council approved the lodging tax increase to fund the stadium, contingent on reaching an agreement with the Barons, at its [[October 26]] meeting.
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==References==
 
==References==
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* Bryant, Joseph D. (October 8, 2010) "As Birmingham courts them, Birmingham Barons say trend of downtown ballparks intriguing; Hoover says not so fast." ''Birmingham News''
 
* Bryant, Joseph D. (October 8, 2010) "As Birmingham courts them, Birmingham Barons say trend of downtown ballparks intriguing; Hoover says not so fast." ''Birmingham News''
 
* Bryant, Joseph D. (October 26, 2010) "Mayor Bell pitches bigger plans for Birmingham baseball stadium." ''Birmingham News''
 
* Bryant, Joseph D. (October 26, 2010) "Mayor Bell pitches bigger plans for Birmingham baseball stadium." ''Birmingham News''
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* Segrest, Doug (November 4, 2010) "Barons reach agreement with Birmingham to move to proposed downtown ballpark." ''Birmingham News''
  
 
[[Category:Proposed developments]]
 
[[Category:Proposed developments]]
 
[[Category:Railroad Reservation]]
 
[[Category:Railroad Reservation]]
 
[[Category:Birmingham Barons]]
 
[[Category:Birmingham Barons]]
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[[Category:2012 buildings]]

Revision as of 20:10, 4 November 2010

Rendering of proposed downtown ballpark

The downtown baseball park is a planned stadium for the Birmingham Barons in downtown Birmingham. The Barons moved out of the city in 1987 after the City of Hoover constructed a new ballpark and Birmingham leaders declined to invest in major upgrades to Rickwood Field.

The idea of building a new downtown ballpark has been discussed somewhat earnestly since 2007 and was jump-started by Robert Simon of Corporate Realty Development in 2009. CRD commissioned a feasibility and economic impact study, which indicated that such a facility and surrounding development could be a boon to the downtown area. Mayor William Bell pursued the project and proposed increasing the city's lodging tax by 4.5% to fund construction. His funding plan was approved by the Birmingham City Council on October 26, 2010, and the city signed a tentative agreement with Barons owners Don and Stan Logan to relocate the team on November 4.

The site considered most advantageous is a four-block area which includes the Merita Bakery, between I-65 and the Railroad Park, a major public space which opened in September 2010. Bell has proposed making the ballpark a publicly-funded anchor for a major revitalization of the area between the Railroad Park and the Trinity Steel site in Titusville, now a brownfield owned by the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority. The area, which crosses I-65, has been targeted for development of a green corridor paralleling the Railroad Reservation. The larger plan was dubbed the "Parkside District" in Bell's announcement. Private development of mixed-use residential, restaurant and retail space would be supported by master planning work, infrastructure upgrades and economic incentives provided by the city.

Previously, Bell told the council that a Negro Leagues Museum would also be part of the ballpark complex. UAB athletic director Brian Mackin also said he had not talked to Bell, but would welcome a discussion about the UAB Blazers baseball team using a downtown stadium.

It has been said that a new park could open as soon as 2012. Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos told the press that his city had invested $6 million in improvements at Regions Park and would not necessarily be amenable to signing a short-term lease with the Barons that would allow the team to move before 2016.


References

  • DeButts, Jimmy (July 24, 2009) "Developers pitching downtown ballpark." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Tomberlin, Michael and Val Walton (July 25, 2009) "Developer considers downtown Birmingham park for baseball's Barons." Birmingham News
  • Kent, Dawn (September 9, 2010) "Architect tackles dream to design sports venue, creates vision for downtown Birmingham ballpark." Birmingham News
  • Whitmire, Kyle (September 13, 2010) "Mayor’s office proposes lodging tax hike for new baseball park" Second Front
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (September 14, 2010) "Birmingham council committee endorses hotel, ball park projects near Railroad Park." Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (October 8, 2010) "As Birmingham courts them, Birmingham Barons say trend of downtown ballparks intriguing; Hoover says not so fast." Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (October 26, 2010) "Mayor Bell pitches bigger plans for Birmingham baseball stadium." Birmingham News
  • Segrest, Doug (November 4, 2010) "Barons reach agreement with Birmingham to move to proposed downtown ballpark." Birmingham News