Is Birmingham ready? "Heck yes!" Full house presents spirited reception for Democratic National Committee
Birmingham city, county, state and federal officials standing on stage moved to the sounds of the state's unofficial anthem: Sweet Home Alabama, in front of the full house at Iron City Monday night for the Democratic Party National Committee "Pitch Party."
Mayor William Bell, Congresswoman Terri Sewell and several council members this evening made their best pitch among a full house at Iron City before a Democratic committee sent to evaluate Birmingham's qualifications for being the host to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
"Now it's time for Birmingham to make things happen in our hometown," Bell said. "It's not about me; it's not about us individually; it's about us together."
Giant banners on display downtown with the declaration "DNC Birmingham 2016" offer more than a subtle clue.
The committee is here Monday and Tuesday to evaluate the city.
City, civic and business officials have met to plan the best possible experience for 14 committee members whose impressions could make or break Birmingham's chance to grab the major convention.
DNC representatives spent the entire day today in Birmingham, touring major sites and assessing the city's hotel and accommodation space.
Birmingham is in competition with Columbus, Ohio; New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix. The competition had included Cleveland, which was selected July 8 as the host city for the Republican National Convention.
City officials and boosters tonight were trying to show the city's best on the first day of the committee's visit to Birmingham.
Among the group of dignitaries was Amy Dacey, CEO of the Democratic National Committee.
"It was the literally the passion and the pride that we saw in Birmingham and all they had to offer and we knew we had to come visit your great city."
Other cities, some significantly larger with more amenities, are also working to land the Democrats' marquee event.
The city council exhibited unanimous support for the initiative, with all nine members appearing at the event, alongside the mayor.
Birmingham would have to raise about $30 million for upgrades, including at the BJCC, if it successfully lands the convention.
City officials said another $49 million could come from a federal security grant, bringing the total price tag - public and private cash- to $79 million.