Alabama hardball: Birmingham mayor wants private land for ballpark

Baseball in the backyard is an American mainstay. But giving up your backyard for baseball?

Birmingham Mayor William Bell is asking his City Council to endorse a plan to seize private property for building a new home for the Birmingham Barons, the city’s AA minor league baseball team that now plays at suburban Hoover’s Regions Park. The project also calls for a Negro Baseball League museum and the assembling of land for an entertainment district, The Birmingham News reports.

The ballpark is seen as a step in bringing new development to the area.

The seizures could draw a lot of attention in neighboring Mississippi, which is scheduled to vote Nov. 8 on a constitutional amendment that would ban the government’s taking of private property for a private purpose. The amendment specifies that if private land is seized it can’t be used for a private purpose for a period of 10 years.

Proponents of the Mississippi constitutional change have cited what they said are strong private property protections in Alabama and other Southern states. They argue the Magnolia State has lagged in initiating adequate property protections.

The Birmingham News reports that a packet of several hundred pages the mayor gave the council includes a resolution to condemn property between First Avenue South between 14th and 16th streets, the planned location for the stadium development.

Bell, in his letter to the council, said the eminent domain resolution would be used if negotiations with landowners fail, The News reports.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, not the city, would handle the assembly of needed property. In exchange for both the public and private property from UAB, the city will swap other properties needed by the university.

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One Response to “Alabama hardball: Birmingham mayor wants private land for ballpark”

  1. cameron Says:

    Question: Has their been any discussion about the possibility of moving the Birmingham Barons from Hoover to Birmingham? Any discussion of how this might effect the SEC baseball tournament staying in Hoover/Birmingham area when the new term expires?

    The SEC baseball tournament just re-upped with Hoover, but I hear Memphis’s Autozone Park was a strong challenger but that the location of Hoover (the aesthetics, the atmosphere, the RV logisitics, and tailgating logistics, not just the central Birmingham area location) was a big factor in retaining it.

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