Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Legion Field won't last forever, you know

Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid wants Alabama legislators to commit $75 million now or $5 million annually over 30 years to help build a domed stadium in the Magic City. Gov. Bob Riley, wisely, has asked the city and Jefferson County to show how they plan to pay for their share of the costs before the state starts pouring money into the dome project.

As inaction reigns, the dome, as it has for more than a decade, remains little more than a glimmer in an architect's eye, an idea that might help revitalize Birmingham if it were built in the next few years but that may not spring into existence in time to have much economic impact.

In case you aren't yet thoroughly disgusted with government, dome posturing may lead Jefferson County legislators to kill an $80 million allocation to the Mobile docks that they support, thereby seriously damaging Mobile's bid to land a $600 million aircraft plant that would bring more than 1,100 jobs to the state.

5 Comments:

Blogger Hanging by the News said...

I'd be interested to see a comparison of the economic impacts of the aircraft plant versus the dome, taking into account the investment costs involved in each.

Though the plant would create much needed jobs (When are jobs never needed?), so would the dome, as you would have to hire food service workers, groundskeepers, maintenance staff, support staff and more. Though some of those jobs would be part-time depending on how many sporting events you have, a number of them would still be full-time since the dome would still likely need an operations staff and staff during events in the conference areas.

You could even have local school or church groups working some of the food service booths for some much needed fund raising.

A sports venue that could attract bigger sporting events and perhaps even professional teams could boost the Birmingham hotel and restaurant industry, which would create a bigger need for more employees at those places, and perhaps create a need for new businesses. Other industries could also get a boost.

The aircraft plant would likely boost home sales in the Mobile area more than Birmingham's dome would in its area, but I think you'd see less impact on hotels and restaurants.

I have to agree that Birmingham has dropped the ball by not acting on the dome, as 10 years of having the dome would have been a major shot in the arm for the city and the state. But even if they build one this late into the game, it could still have great impact. Had the dome been present when the Montreal Expos went down the tube, Birmingham could have likely made a bid for them.

Though opponents would argue that that decision would perhaps draw fans away from the Atlanta Braves, the Nationals are pretty close to Baltimore now anyway.

Both the aircraft plant and the dome would help our state, though both would boost their cities' economies in different ways. Again, I'd like to see the various governments compare the impacts of the two to see which is the better deal.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

It's not an either-or situation; Alabama can have both the aircraft plant and the dome if our elected officials play their cards right.

The more immediate concern, though, is the aircraft plant. Mobile has to submit its bid later this month, and the company plans to announce the winner this summer. Riley could call the Legislature back into special session to pass the docks money, but if it isn't in place by the time Mobile bids, that could be a deal-breaker.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

"... if our elected officials play their cards right... "

We might as well hang THAT one up right now. How often do we see our elected officials playing their cards right after all?

8:31 PM  
Blogger Hanging by the News said...

GTL, I have to agree with you there.

In a poker world, the Alabama legislature is too often playing Crazy Eights.

9:01 PM  
Blogger King Cockfight said...

Kincaid's right! Riley's just being a crazy, probably racist asshole by not simply giving Birmingham officials a lot of money without them telling him exactly how they're going to spend it. Who needs a plan when their intentions are good, right?

And how could you possibly not trust a Birmingham city official? I mean, it's not like a city employee has traded a city vehicle for crack in the past year or so, right?

Oh shit, wait.

10:51 PM  

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