State Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) is publicly backing the proposed move of Pelham's Oak Mountain Amphitheatre out of Shelby County and into Jefferson County.
The project was proposed to the Jefferson County Commission in a work session last week.
The proposal is for a new 8,900-to-9,000-seat amphitheater in North Birmingham, where Carraway Hospital was once located — just a couple of blocks north of Protective Stadium.
As part of the motion, the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau (BCVB) relinquished the payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) they received from the Westin and Sheraton, the two hotels on the BJCC campus.
Although Oak Mountain Amphitheatre is in State Sen. Dan Roberts' (R-Mountain Brook) Senate District 15, the amphitheater's property borders Waggoner's Senate District 16.
Waggoner's district also includes a small part of the city of Pelham, which stands to suffer from the venue's possible move.
However, the new venue would not be located in Waggoner's district. The proposed old Caraway Hospital site lies within Senate District 18, represented by Rodger M. Smitherman (D-Birmingham).
Waggoner serves on the BCVB board of directors, which approved a motion on Monday to move forward with the new $50 million amphitheater.
According to a press release from Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Waggoner said the Alabama Legislature initially authorized the BJCC's lodging taxes to support investments and make the Birmingham region more competitive in attracting conventions.
"Having these funds support an amphitheater is in full accord with the Legislature's original intent," Waggoner said in the release. "We know that in the long run, investing those funds in a new facility like this will serve the CVB's objectives and support economic growth in our community."
1819 News reached out to both Waggoner and Roberts for further comment but received no response.
The proposed amphitheater move resembles the 2010 announcement of the Birmingham Barons minor league baseball team's move from what was once known as the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium to its current home stadium in Birmingham at Regions Field.
The Barons' move came as a shock to then-Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos, much as the amphitheater proposal had to Pelham Mayor Gary Waters.
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