The Birmingham City Council put off a vote Tuesday on a $44,000 feasibility study for a possible pedestrian bridge joining Railroad Park and the north side of the city. Birmingham Mayor William Bell requested the delay—he said he wanted to provide the council with more information about the project at a committee of the whole meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
“I know some councilors are saying that they don’t have enough information about the bridge,” Bell said at the beginning of the Council meeting. He then said the feasibility study on the project, which would have been conducted by the Birmingham-based firm MBA Engineers Inc., would answer those questions. He asked for the delay later on in the meeting.
“We’re looking at ways that we can capitalize on the building of Railroad Park and the baseball stadium to extend beyond just the south side of the railroad tracks,” Bell said Tuesday morning. “If you take an aerial view of the connection between the south side and the north side — where there is no connection — you would see that it would open up that entire corridor along 16th Street so that people are not just isolated on the south side of the railroad tracks, but so that it would open up the potential to develop the north side of the railroad track.”
Bell said the city is considering building several other bridges downtown and in other areas of the city.
“We’re looking at several other bridges and trying to put together a package” to seek funding from the federal government, Bell said.
Funding for the $44,200 feasibility study was to come from a tax increment financing, or TIF, fund dedicated to downtown redevelopment. Bell said the study would address the funding options for that bridge and the potential economic impact of such a project.
The city council has a committee of the whole meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m.