The Birmingham city council voted 6-3 yesterday to approve spending $3 million a year for 30 years on a new University of Alabama-Birmingham football stadium. I think this was the final vote necessary, and we’ve already covered the total public costs ($15.7 million a year, or about $250 million in present value) and crazy economic arguments behind the plan, so let’s just move ahead with quotes from the four hours of citizen comments that were otherwise ignored by the council:
“It doesn’t benefit us anything to build this stadium here,” [Robert Walker, vice president of the Wahouma Neighborhood Association,] said. “I ask you to do something different. The people don’t want it.”
Edna Freeman, of the Druid Hills neighborhood, which borders the BJCC property, said she doesn’t support the stadium. “It will need parking. People will have to move.
“When you talk about four blocks to build a stadium, where is the parking? They are going to buy property for parking,” she said.
“We don’t need a stadium in our neighborhood,” Freeman added. “It can go somewhere else. We need our houses developed. We need property where people want to move in our neighborhood, not tear it down.”…
The Rev. Gwendolyn Cook Webb said no vote should take place until the people are allowed to be heard. “The people haven’t been heard yet,” she said.
“It is like we are going back to the ’60s,” she said. “‘You do what I say do,’ is what I heard this morning.”
Spending all this money on a college football stadium that will be used a handful of times per year and move games from one part of the city to another will make it easier for the city to spend money on fixing sidewalks, according to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, who as a reminder is out of his goddamn mind.