A visit to Rickwood Field in recent weeks has meant seeing a structure being constructed out in foul territory around short left field where a metal shed once stood. Construction continues, with hopes of it being mostly complete in time for next week Wednesday’s Rickwood Classic between the Birmingham Barons and the Mississippi Braves, but they’re in need of $25,000 to do so.
The building, a train depot formerly located in downtown Birmingham along 14th St. N., has been given a new lease on life as a batting cage for America’s oldest ballpark. It was seen as a win for preservationists who’d wanted to see the structure preserved as part of a new Alagasco operations center after its demolition had been approved by the city’s Design Review Committee in January. The plans for the building were announced shortly after demolition had begun this spring.
Alagasco has worked with general contractor Stewart Perry Construction and the nonprofit organization the Friends of Rickwood on the building’s move — one that will include being used by Birmingham city high schools and Miles College. A Razoo donation page has been set up for several weeks now, and the campaign has one week left. They’re asking for people to share the link and the story with as many people as possible.
Ironically on the anniversary of the Olympic soccer countdown beginning at Legion Field for the 1996 Olympics, it was reported that the U.S. women’s national soccer team will make its return to Birmingham and The Old Gray Lady on May 3. It’s a tune-up for the national squad as they prepare for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the first time that Legion Field has been used by either of our national soccer teams since the installation of an artificial turf playing surface in 2006.
Photo credit: Norway vs United States, WWC Third Place Match, G romano/Flickr
The crowd at the 2006 Rickwood Classic. Photo credit: André Natta
Not only is America’s oldest ballpark enjoying some visits from minor league officials this week, it’s also enjoying its recently redesigned website. Head on over to http://www.rickwood.com (yeah, we know it’s not finished yet, but check it out anyway) and see what we mean.
And that’s on top of the park having been the cover story in this month’s Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine. Here’s a link to the article as it exists on the website. Here’s a link to a PDF of the article as well. It’s a nice way for the park to get some attention as an unofficial countdown begins towards its 100th birthday in 2010.
Photo credit: André Natta
You may even run into an American Idol. That’s the word from out at We Love West End Day at Rickwood Field. You’ve got to get out there today and check out the cars. If you happen to see this in time, you may be able to get to Birmingham’s west side to see former American Idol Ruben Studdard (estimated time of arrival – 2:30 p.m.). His grandmother is a neighborhood officer and an organizer of today’s event. Check out our listing for the event for additional information.
Workers make progress on one of several homes in the Fountain Heights neighborhood where construction began on infill housing last year. The homes are being constructed in the Northern Triangle area of the neighborhood as part of a HOPE VI development. The award-winning revitalization plan for Fountain Heights was the focus of last month’s ONB Breakfast Briefing.