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90 years ago one of the first games played at Legion Field in Birmingham was the Tide facing Georgia. Here we are nine decades later, the rivalries are still as fierce as ever, but the stadium that hosted that game, is facing an uncertain future.
The city council and the new mayor are grappling with a choice it seems.
Will Legion Field eventually get the $30 million for the 5-year (2018-2023) capital budget for Legion Field? That’s just part of the proposed $100 million plan to redevelop the Smithfield community.
90-year-old Legion Field has quite a history. Countless Alabama and Auburn fans cheered on their teams in the Iron Bowl from 1948 to 1988, and then every other year until 1999 at Legion Field. In 1996, 86,000 fans filled the stadium to watch an opening-round soccer match in the Olympics. Legion Field is where The Bear passed Amos Alonzo Stagg as college football’s all-time winningest coach.
City Councilor William Parker wants to think outside of the box when considering future plans for Legion Field. He proposes that the city buys the surrounding properties, creating green-spaces for attendees to enjoy. Parker believes the creation of park like green-spaces will create a destination that would be visited and used even when games aren’t being played.
The proposed Legion Field renovations would include upgraded bleachers, new restrooms, improved parking lots, a new paint job for the entire stadium, and sky box upgrades.
And then there is the success of our UAB Blazers…
The UAB football program had a spectacular 2017 return season. The Blazers won all of their home games, plus they led the Conference USA in home attendance. The idea of building a new state-of-the-art sports facility, for the Blazers to play in, is on the minds of many.
While the decision to upgrade Legion Field is on hold until more community input and research is completed, many are maintaining the time for a NEW stadium is NOW. A growing opinion is that Birmingham needs to look to the future, to compete with other large cities by building a state-of-the-art sports facility.