Birmingham's Railroad Park Asks for Funding

Asking the city of Birmingham to devote almost 42 percent of its budget to long-term funding of Railroad Park, park managers have requested $500,000 plus its regular line-item funding.

The Railroad Park Foundation spends most of the park’s yearly $1.2 million annual budget on maintenance and security, according to Will French, president of the Railroad Park Foundation.

The park covers 19 acres of sweeping green lawns in the center of downtown Birmingham. Thirty percent of the park is water, which fills a lake, falls in a rain curtain, and dots the area with ponds and streams.

In planning the park, the city of Birmingham agreed in 2007 it would pay for operating the park for at least three years, but no amount was indicated. The park opened to the public in September 2010.

The city paid $4.4 million of the park’s $22 million construction. It paid another $3.2 million to buy and demolish two buildings at the location.

The park and city officials have disagreed on the latest request for funding. Less than a year ago, the foundation asked the city to pay $3.2 million for construction debt and operating expenses. City and foundation officials disagree over the funding commitment that the city made.

Foundation managers said there was confusion in the funding agreement. However, city officials reply there has been no confusion and the city has paid the park the amount agreed upon.

The chief of staff of Mayor William Bell said the mayor believes in finding more money for the park, but that details still needed to be decided. City council members were set to discuss the details at a meeting February 13. Most of the city council members, though, told The Birmingham News that they supported long-term financial support for the park.


For more information, contact a railroad lawyer today.