What difference can a dome make?
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
I had just finished helping our sports editor, Drew Granthum, with Friday night football coverage a few weeks ago when I navigated to one of my favorite websites: Bhamwiki.com.
Much like my frequent stints on a similar website, Wikipedia.org, I’m never quite sure where my searches will take me. After reading a little about the history of western Birmingham, I noticed a mention of past domed stadium proposals in Birmingham and its surrounding areas.
Included on the stadium proposals page was information about a plan Alabaster leaders considered back in 1995. My family and I lived in Shelby County back then, but at only 10 years old, I admittedly didn’t remember anything about the stadium proposal.
The more I thought about the prospect of a 60,000-70,000 stadium built into an unused quarry near the southern end of Shelby County’s largest city, the more interested I became.
Not sure exactly where to begin, I spent some time digging through old City Council minutes, and was surprised to find liberal mention of the project over an about three-month period in the middle of 1995.
One thing led to another again, and I was soon able to track down two men who served on the council during the stadium discussions – Bill Derryberry and Bobby Harris – to get the full story.
As it turns out, Alabaster, which was much smaller then than it is now, was seriously interested in attracting the Birmingham Barracudas – A Canadian Football League team that played its games at Legion Field – and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football teams to the proposed dome.
In the end, the project never came to fruition because of several factors – Chiefly because the quarry became active again and because the Barracudas folded in Birmingham. But at one time, the Alabaster stadium project appeared to have the backing of multiple Alabama leaders – all of who had deep pockets to contribute to the project had it come to pass.
Since researching the domed stadium proposal, I’ve often found myself wondering how Alabaster would be different today if the stadium had been built. Would the city be better off or not?