Community leaders celebrate regional cooperation at BJCC Multi-Use Stadium groundbreaking

Groundbreaking for the BJCC Multi-Use Stadium. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Regional cooperation.

That was the most common statement used at today’s groundbreaking on the site of the new Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center (BJCC) Multi-Use Stadium.

Rendering of the 55,000 seat BJCC Multi-Use Stadium. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Hosted by the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority and joined by the Alabama Senate and House Jefferson County delegations, the Jefferson County Commission, Mayor Randall Woodfin and the city council of Birmingham and UAB President Ray Watts, the ceremony commences the construction of a 55,000 seat stadium that will be home to UAB football and the upcoming Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football.

The BJCC Multi-Use Stadium is expected to be completed in time to host the 2021 World Games.

Tremendous asset

Dennis Lathem, Chairman of the BJCC Authority Board reminded all in attendance, the economic impact the BJCC complex provides the region.

“The BJCC is a tremendous asset to our community. Currently, it supports 2500 jobs, produce $73 million in earnings and about $117 million in spending in the region every year. This new stadium is the result of a very courageous effort for everyone involved.”

Transformational

Mayor Randall Woodfin joined on stage with the Birmingham City Council. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

With the entire Birmingham City Council by his side, Mayor Randall Woodfin hailed the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex expansion project as transformational.

“What we are witnessing is a transformational experience for our community, not just for the BJCC but for Birmingham itself,” said Woodfin.

“Through this project, we’re knocking down barriers, allowing minority and women-owned business owners to have the opportunity to find success. Additional revenue from the BJCC expansion and new development of surrounding property will go directly into the city’s neighborhood revitalization fund.”

The mayor concluded, “This transformational change we are witnessing today is happening for this one reason. Cooperation. Regional cooperation.”

Communication, cooperation and coordination

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens joined on stage by past and present commissioners. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

After Woodfin’s presentation, Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens gave a rousing speech focusing on the importance of working together.

“You will hear us talk all the time about the C- attitudes, where you have communication, cooperation and coordination,” said Stephens. I can’t think of a better instance for this to take place than for us joining together for something that benefits all the citizens for our entire region.  We were able to cross racial barriers, partisanship in politics and be able to work together with all of our stakeholders in Jefferson County to make this happen.  I can’t think of a better time  or better place than right now to live in Jefferson County and Birmingham Alabama. The future is so bright!”

Legislative Delegations and UAB

Senator Rodger Smitherman in the center, joined by Sen. Jabo Waggoner on the right and Sen. Dan Roberts on the left. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

The city of Birmingham and the county commission were followed  on stage by members of the Jefferson County delegations from the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives. They expressed optimism about the future of Jefferson County.

“We have an opportunity to set an example,” said Rodger Smitherman, a longtime state senator, whose district is downtown Birmingham. Jefferson County is ripe to be a model for the country, to work together.  This is only the beginning for what I think is going to be a golden renaissance for all of us in Jefferson County.”

President Ray Watts, President of UAB summed up the ceremony’s theme about cooperation.

“This is the greatest example of cooperation and partnership that we have seen in Birmingham for many, many decades.”

 

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.