Downtown Birmingham

Jefferson County Commission to Consider Rescue Funds for Civic Center Authority, Visitors Bureau

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens in a meeting April 19, 2022. (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Jimmie Stephens declared after Tuesday’s committee meeting of the Jefferson County Commission that there are activities and events aplenty in Birmingham, the county seat.

“There’s more to do in the city of Birmingham now than we ever had in the past,” the commission president said. “I was actually at the (USFL) ball game (Monday) night and the City Walk is beautiful. I am so excited of the opportunity that citizens are gonna have to be able to utilize that great new space.”

Stephens’ comments came after commissioners heard presentations from the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority. Each received American Rescue Plan Act funds, as each has had to deal with shortfalls brought about by the pandemic.

Commissioners moved to Thursday’s agenda consideration of $4 million in rescue plan tourism and hospitality funds to the bureau and $6 million to the BJCC. (The funding was approved Thursday)

“All of that was preapproved through our Witt O’Brien (consultant) people,” Stephens said. “Mainly what transpired today was an explanation of what they do. I think that both of them generate a great deal of tax revenue and quality of life improvements for our citizens and the people who are visiting.

“It was our way of being able to support them in their mission to do that,” the commission president said. “We’re moving forward and it’s exciting times.”

Cooper Green Clinic, JCCEO Building, Other Business

Commissioners also received an update on progress on the Cooper Green clinic that will be built at the corner of Sixth Avenue South and 14th Street. The parking deck that had stood at that site has been demolished to make way for construction. The update is a precursor to a return in May seeking a bond issue to further fund the construction.

Commissioners Thursday will consider conveying the county’s half of the former headquarters of the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity building to the City of Birmingham for $150,000. The county and city currently share ownership of the building, which was previously Graymont School.

Other matters moved to Thursday’s agenda include:

  • Consideration of an amendment to the Morgan Road widening project, adding 18 months to the project and paying $866,714 to bring the contract total to $1,888,025.
  • A tax abatement to TWG Development on the Tracks development at 2400 First Avenue South in Birmingham. That project, at a former brownfield site, is set to be a multi-family development.
  • An addition to the E Ring online tax assessor system that permits persons age 65 and older or disabled to file their tax exemption form online. “Now, it’s going to be available online to help those who have difficulty getting down here,” Stephens said. “That’s a great thing for the citizens and taxpayers of Jefferson County.”

Thursday’s meeting of the county commission will be at the Bessemer Justice Center at 1801 Third Avenue North in Bessemer. Rather than being in the usual lower-level courtroom, the commission will convene on the third floor in the courtroom of Circuit Court Judge David Hobdy.