A developer is pushing a plan for the city of Birmingham to buy out a local bakery and build a new ballpark for the Birmingham Barons, but we're not sure the Barons are totally behind it.
A developer is pushing a plan for the city of Birmingham to buy out a local bakery and build a new ballpark for the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League), but we're not sure the Barons are totally behind it.
The proposal would have the city buy the Merita Bakery's south campus — a going concern — and tear it down in favor of a new ballpark for the Barons, which could foster economic development in downtown Birmingham.
But pushing a new ballpark for economic development is always a risky move. And it's not as though the Barons are actively seeking a new home: the team plays at Regions Park in suburban Hoover. In recent years the city of Hoover has spent millions on ballpark renovations, both to benefit the Barons and the annual SEC baseball tourney played there. The Barons front office, it seems to us, is a pretty loyal group: the team still plays an annual game at Rickwood Field despite the logistical issues of playing a single game across town, and Hoover built the team a ballpark at a time the franchise desperately needed a new venue. The Barons lease at Regions Park ends in 2010, but there's a five-year option available.
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