Birmingham stands to gain a much needed park near its downtown if this deal with U.S. Steel Corp stands. One of my soap boxes about B'ham is the city's lack of user-friendly parks. With a metro population over one million, Greater Birmingham finds itself in 2005 with very few places to play and exercise. Another proposal that is in the works is to turn a stretch of old railroad tracks that run through downtown B'ham into a greenway that would run between the already split downtown banking and hospital districts.
Birmingham is lagging behind in a day when cities have come to recognize that quality of life depends on people being able to enjoy being outside. Another area in which B'ham lags behind is in the downtown area. Efforts are underway to bring new housing and business to the immediate downtown, but there are still many, many eyesores that need to be dealt with if people are going to want to spend time downtown. With development booming in the area and property values continuing to skyrocket, U.S. Steel should be applauded for its cooperation, agreeing to sell land to the city for a much less than its worth.
Few sidewalks are currently in place to serve the suburbs. Fewer street lights can be found outside of downtown. Being on the front edge of the Central Time Zone, darkness comes in the winter by 4:30. I've written before about the statistics calling Alabama the most obese state. Surely one can find a correlation between the lack of opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities in Birmingham and this problem of obesity.
As the article states the proposed park would contain both developed and undeveloped areas to serve the greater B'ham area. Within the metro population of over one million, the city of Birmingham is only a percentage as Hoover, Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, and Irondale all contain significant population bases, but each city runs its own government. One has only to look around to see the lack of cooperation among the cities in the metro area. The proposed park would be near all six cities, but little effort can be found by the cities to bring such projects to pass.
Turning Legion Field into a domed stadium has been the talk of Birmigham for some time. The B'ham city council seems to believe that such a stadium would be a great step for the city. Comparing numbers, a large, centrally located park is going to be a much greater boost to the standard of living for the area. A domed stadium may attract some large sporting events, but for pure everyday use, what Birmingham is lacking and needing is this type of park, not an idle-sitting football field.