It will be a new era of baseball tonight in Alabama, as the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) will open up a new downtown ballpark after a 25-year stint in the suburbs.
The new ballpark, Regions Field, is the merger of two visions: one, from city officials who wanted to see pro baseball return to the city after departing for nearby Hoover, and another from Barons ownership wanting to establish their own legacy, At this point it looks like both visions will end up being realized: the new ballpark is already driving development in downtown Birmingham, and the Logan family seems pretty happy with how the ballpark is turning out. From al.com:
“I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly things will happen (with development),” Don said. “I’ve lived in Birmingham 20-some years, and I don’t think I’ve seen any single facility going in, company going in, building activity going on that’s created more goodwill, more interest than this ballpark has. Everywhere I’ve been, whether it’s downtown or in the suburbs, the first question is how’s the ballpark coming? Everybody is thinking about it.”
The Logans envision residences and retail stores mixing with Railroad Park and Regions Field. “I don’t think ballparks are ever the one and only thing that generates that,” Stan said. “The ballpark can just be that catalyst that sparks and ignites.”
Image courtesy of the Birmingham Barons. It was taken several weeks ago, when sod was laid down.
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