Jefferson County commissioners weigh pros and cons of proposed amphitheater in North Birmingham

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 8:57 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - An update on that plan for a $50 million amphitheater potentially going to North Birmingham.

The Jefferson County Commission president says Live Nation approached them about the possibility of the venue.

It’s seen by many Birmingham area leaders as a good investment, but not everyone agrees.

Commission President Jimmie Stephens said this proposed amphitheater could be a huge boom for the local economy.

Commissioner Lashunda Scales said she’s all for economic development, but said there are more pressing issues the county needs to address right now.

“It’s important for the city. It’s important for the county and it’s an opportunity that we have to give back to the community.”

Stephens said the proposed amphitheater at The Star at Uptown Development could bring economic prosperity to area.

“Well, it’s very important for the economic development of that area and the revitalization of the BJCC and the entire Norwood community,” Stephens said.

The venue would hold between 8,500 and 9,000 seats.

The cost would be split between Jefferson County, the City of Birmingham, and the BJCC, each contributing $5 million.

Stephens said Live Nation approached the county about the project and would also contribute $5 million.

No official word yet on a timeline.

“It depends on how quickly we move. We hope for the ‘24 concert season,” Stephens said.

But District 1 Commissioner Lashunda Scales said while her district only borders the proposed area for the new venue, moving forward with it could negatively impact her constituents.

She said the county ought to be focused more on needs and less on entertainment.

“Right now, we have ambulatory services that we are struggling with. In addition to the fact, we’re talking about sewer refinancing of these bonds. That comes up in 2023. We want to make sure that we are fully engaged on those things that we know that our citizens desire, and most of all, that they need,” Scales explained.

Scales said she’s also concerned that the amphitheater could further stretch safety resources throughout the county.

County and city leaders said there are still many steps that must happen before this project can become a reality.

But if it’s approved, the amphitheater would be owned by the BJCC and managed by Live Nation.

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