Top Menu

Birmingham OKs initial ballpark funding plan

Rickwood Field

A Birmingham City Council committee today gave preliminary approval to a plan presented by Mayor William Bell that would more than double the city’s hotel tax rate to partially pay for a new ballpark — and move a planned baseball museum away from historic Rickwood Field.

The plan would hike the city’s hotel rate from 3 percent to 6.5 percent, generating $40 million for a new ballpark in the downtown Railroad Park area as well as a new hotel. Details were actually few and far between; the Barons were not discussed, and neither was a hotel vendor. Indeed, the committee pretty much just passed along the proposal with the understanding that a more fleshed-out version would be presented to the full City Council down the line.

One twist that’s sure to raise some objections: funds already pledged for a Birmingham baseball museum at Rickwood Field would be diverted to the new ballpark.

Talk of a new downtown Birmingham ballpark has been floating around for years, but usually driven by developers. This plan is being pushed by the city and will be a city-owned facility.

The new ballpark for the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) could potentially open for the 2012 season if all the pieces fall together, but a more realistic opening date would be the 2013 season. It would be built large enough to accommodate the Barons as well as the SEC baseball tournament.

RELATED STORIES: Birmingham to discuss downtown ballpark Monday; Downtown ballpark study underway in Birmingham; New ballpark pitched for downtown Birmingham

Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at

Subscribers to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter see features before they’re posted to the site. You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.

Join Ballpark Digest on Facebook and on Twitter!

, , , ,