BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is defending his recommendation that the city sell some of its parking decks to generate money for neighborhood revitalization.
The mayor said in a video on Facebook over the weekend that the city has been approached with an unsolicited offer of $40-million for six of the 11 parking decks operated by the Birmingham Parking Authority. He said the decks are currently worth $35-million.
At least two groups, including the BPA itself, are voicing opposition to the idea.
“It is our belief that an outright sale is short-sighted and does not provide consideration for an improved financial economy climate, such as parking for the World Games, tourist events and downtown economic development in a post pandemic environment,” BPA board member Dora Sims said in a statement.
Christopher Woods, CEO of CW Woods Contracting Services, is also speaking out against the sale of the parking decks. Woods served as construction manager for city projects under previous mayors Larry Langford and Bernard Kincaid. He believes the decks are worth more than $40 million and he said he and other citizens plan to file a lawsuit if the city moves forward with the sale. He’s asking city leaders to slow down the process.
“Open everything up to the public and let them know what is going on,” Woods said. “Slow down the sale of these parking decks.”
Woods said the decks are assets for the city with the World Games coming up in 2022. But Woodfin disagrees, saying the decks net the city only about $400,000 each year. He believes the money from the sale of the decks can be used to benefit residents.
“That’s actually thinking long-term as it relates to the priority,” Woodfin said. “The priority here is neighborhood revitalization. The priority is continued investments in our employees, culture, our culture assets, etc. not parking decks.”
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