HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) -- Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato says his city is no longer a Birmingham suburb but has grown into an urban center of its own that's balancing growth, new residential and commercial development and financial challenges.
"If you look at Hoover, we look like America," Mayor Brocato said. "If you look at our population, we're a very diverse population, socioeconomically, ethnically, all the different nationalities here, we have over 40 languages spoken in our
Hoover is now the sixth largest Alabama city. The Riverchase Galleria is the city's defining landmark. Mayor Brocato says while there is talk about malls failing, he says the Galleria is not one of those malls.
"Are we doing things to modernize it, talking with the mall to bring it into the 21st century and to address those types of shopping needs? Absolutely," Mayor Brocato said. "We look at the mall, The Galleria, as our downtown."
Many in Hoover and surrounding areas are looking forward to the opening of the state's first Dave & Buster's. The mayor said they are in the demo stage of the restaurant and arcade, and that the new location should be done in late fall.
Even with large residential neighborhoods like Ross Bridge and new communities to come, like the Black Ridge Community with 600 homes around a beautiful lake, the city is still facing some tough financial troubles.
"I think our financial situation is not alarming, but it's something we have to address," Mayor Brocato said. "It's not a crisis. It could be a crisis if we just kick the can down the road, so to speak, and don't do anything about it."
Mayor Brocato was born right here on Birmingham's Southside.
"I love the city. Our family was probably one of the oldest Italian families," Mayor Brocato said. "Came here in the late 1890's. My wife's family are Italian immigrants as well."
When the mayor is not handling city business, he says he likes to sing karaoke around his house. His favorite group? The Beach Boys.
"Oh my gosh. I maybe I'm boring in this, but I love The Beach Boys. I will go anywhere to see them and hear them. I love, I love to karaoke in my house sing Beach Boy songs."
Brocato also likes opera, old school songs and playing the fiddle.