Dome Sweet Home

Today in the B’Ham news, we see these two headlines:

First,”Cost of dome up 10.2% to $68 million.”

Second, “$350,000 Glen Iris project hits delay in commission.”

The first, of course, refers to the never-ending attempts to build a domed stadium in B’ham. Never mind that we already have a fairly new, relatively large arena. Never mind that we have no permanent resident for a domed stadium. WE MUST HAVE ONE. Why? Because Atlanta does. Cost is no deterrent, as the story explains:

The potential cost for a domed addition to the BJJC has climbed nearly $68 million, its supporters will tell a Birmingham City Council committee today. And Mayor Bernard Kincaid will ask the committee to pledge $264 million over 30 years to help jump-start the project this year.

The second story refers to a proposed housing development. It would occur in what is now a littered, overgrown empty lot in the middle of a residencial area. The project will not only provide the new homes, but it will greatly improve the surrounding neighborhood. Trust me, I frequently ride my bike through the area. The reason for the delay is that, according to one of the commissioners, the commission does not have “a policy outlining when it should participate in for-profit residential developments.”

I mention this because it illustrates why this town is such a dump. We will fall all over ourselves for a dome that might attract for a few days some out of town conventioneers who will stay in hotels and eat at restaurants who in turn send their profits back to out of state corporate hq. Meanwhile, we find every reason in the world to avoid a project that would remedy the biggest problem in B’ham – scarcity of decent housing. This project would draw permanent residents. People who will live in and commit to this city, who will have a vested interest in its success.

The pattern in this town for the last half century has been to neglect, or actively destroy, its neighborhoods in favor of ‘economic development.’ The result is a city that is neither a nice place to visit or live.

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