It’s almost become a tradition for football fans in the Magic City. Every few years, yet another professional football league comes to Legion Field, with aspirations to bring some semblance of high-level gridiron action to The Old Gray Lady on Graymont.
This time, the Alliance of American Football promises to help fans get over that difficult spell after the end of the traditional season and create an attraction that brings entertainment and dollars to the economy of a city, state and region that’s a sports hotbed.
Playing in the spring, the AAF bills itself as a developmental organization that gives up-and-coming players a chance to advance or return to the National Football League. Read more.
Across the front of the press box at the new BBVA Compass Field is a slogan that is familiar, but just a little different: “Fútbol Capital of the South.”
Those who have lived in the Birmingham area for a while should remember a similar legend, “Football Capital of the South,” that was displayed across the front of Legion Field’s old upper deck. The main tenants of the new field are hoping they can achieve legendary status in a different kind of football, as the game is known in almost all of the rest of the world.
Birmingham Legion FC, the Magic City’s first ever fully professional soccer club, pays homage to the Old Gray Lady on Graymont Avenue with its name. Read more.
The arrival of the Birmingham Iron, the city’s entry in America’s newest pro football league, marks the latest in a series of franchises that have plied their trade at Legion Field. But they are not the only game in town.
Birmingham has gone from just one minor league team two years ago — the Barons, who have played baseball here since 1885, with a few breaks along the way — to four. In another year or two, that number is scheduled to increase to five, marking the first time Birmingham has hosted professional teams in the five major sports, according to BirminghamProSports.com, a site that documents Birmingham teams throughout the city’s history.
That’s a milestone for a place long known for its love of all things athletic. Before this, teams with the strongest claim to professional status were those sponsored by industries in the early 1900s. The Iron have gotten off to a fast start in the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football, winning their first three games before losing two. Read more.
The state’s roads are in bad shape. Those potholes and accidents cost the average driver in the Birmingham area about $1,800 a year, according to a new report from a transportation group.
The report comes as state lawmakers prepare to convene next week in Montgomery for the start of the legislative session. Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to announce a plan to improve state infrastructure Tuesday. She supports a gas tax increase for roads and bridges.
More than 40 percent of Birmingham’s major roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition according to Trip, a national transportation nonprofit research group. Read more.
Lashunda Scales used a discussion of a possible development in Warrior to remind her fellow Jefferson County commissioners that there are other underdeveloped areas in the county.
Commissioner Steve Ammons agreed. “We have a lot out in McCalla. We don’t have as much opportunity in north Jefferson County. We’re trying to take those opportunities and distribute them,” he said. Read more.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has announced legislation he believes would address the lack of healthy food options faced by a majority of the city’s residents.
A proposed healthy food ordinance will be officially released in coming weeks, Woodfin told the City Council on Tuesday, and will include measures to “limit the development of new dollar stores in our city… as well as open more opportunities for fresh food producers (and) lowering the overall costs for grocers.” Read more.
Gov. Kay Ivey told an audience in Birmingham that her administration will focus its efforts on bolstering the educational system so that children will be ready to fill the jobs of tomorrow’s high-tech economy as well as rebuilding Alabama’s infrastructure.
Ivey was the keynote speaker Friday at the annual meeting of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, which met to discuss how the state is doing in its job to help both students going into the workforce and adults moving into different fields adjust to the changing needs of the state’s employers.
“Alabama is in a position to achieve greater success,” Ivey said. “And as we look to our future, more than ever before, now is the time that we must be sure that our workforce is well-equipped to face the opportunities and the jobs of tomorrow.” Read more.
U.S. Steel Corporation will restart work on its electric arc furnace in Fairfield. The $215 million initiative will replace the former blast furnace at Fairfield Works. The project started almost four years ago, but was put on hold due to poor market demand for steel. Ty West, editor-in-chief of the Birmingham Business Journal, says this is good news. Read more.