City officials meet with residents to share information about the proposed MLB Youth Academy at George Ward Park
PRESS RELEASE Tuesday March 19, 2019
Contact: Cody Owens
BIRMINGHAM, AL — During Tuesday’s special-called Parks and Recreation Committee meeting, City Councilors, Park Board officials and concerned residents discussed the proposed plans for the Major League Baseball Youth Academy at George Ward Park.
The meeting lasted for nearly two hours and all the residents who wished to have their questions answered were given the opportunity. Bill Cather, a 48-year resident of Birmingham spoke in favor of the proposed youth academy.
“I think we can work this out,” Cather said. “I’ve been living and working here for 48 years. I understand there are a lot of moving parts but I can say that having MLB here in Birmingham would be a great thing for young people in this city.”
Most of those who spoke said they support the youth academy but expressed concerns about how the process was handled.
Council President Pro Tem William Parker said that moving forward, he hopes to have more dialogue about the project. Earlier on Tuesday, the Council voted to approve the agreement with MLB. “We’re not giving anything away. We want to enhance the park and bring in more partners. I’m not sure how this is a bad thing,” Parker said.
“Over the last several years MLB has been looking for a site in Birmingham. Moving we’re all going to be aware of what’s going on with this project,” Parker continued. “What we want to do is use this as a teachable moment about how we move forward together. We need to be on the same page in order to build trust.”
Parker also explained the process on how George Ward Park came to be the primary location selected by MLB for the youth academy. “Through the process MLB selected George Ward Park,” Parker said. “They looked at a lot of other sites. Just like any economic development project, they chose that location. It’s where they want to be. The fact that it’s right off of I-65 and located right by UAB and Titusville, those were taken into consideration. It’s in the heart of Birmingham.”
For more information contact Cody Owens with the Birmingham City Council’s Public Information Office at 205-317-1121 or email@example.com