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ttownfeen
Apr 9, 2009, 12:46 AM
I haven't seen a Tuscaloosa discussion thread, so I thought it would be good to start one.


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Tuscaloosa won the bid along with Auburn to host the high school football championship games for all 6 divisions. Tuscaloosa will host the Super 6 finals at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2009, 2011, and 2013.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090408/NEWS/904089974/1007?Title=Super-6-football-coming-to-Bryant-Denny

The bid costs $175,000 per year (I'm guessing only every other year).

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090408/NEWS/904089958/1007?Title=Tuscaloosa-bid-175-000-per-year-to-win-Super-6

DruidCity
Apr 9, 2009, 1:43 AM
The city seems to be doing pretty well attracting events recently (Blue Angels air show, triathlon, etc).

One sector that's still surprisingly lacking is retail. I keep expecting something to happen with McFarland Mall, and for Midtown to fill in (Best Buy should've gone in the Circuit City spot to begin with, and still should).

10101000
Apr 9, 2009, 4:11 PM
We had one of these a while back.....

ttownfeen
Apr 11, 2009, 9:56 PM
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090411/NEWS/904109917/1007?Title=Shelby-says-goal-is-to-steer-1-billion-to-UA

Shelby has already steered $500m of pork/local projects money to UA alone! His plan is to have steered $1b to UA when it's all said and done. That's not taking into account money to other universities in the money, not to mention cities and the state itself.

tascalisa
Apr 12, 2009, 3:12 AM
So, that article confirms that a building will be torn down soon across Shelby Lane from Shelby Hall. Nice to finally know what's actually gonna happen.

The sad thing is, these earmarks are actually necessary, because Alabama did not get its fair share of "stimulus money"

DruidCity
Apr 12, 2009, 5:44 PM
We had one of these a while back.....

Should we try to merge this thread with that one ?

So, that article confirms that a building will be torn down soon across Shelby Lane from Shelby Hall. Nice to finally know what's actually gonna happen.

Yes, that sounds like MIB (HM Comer Hall).

Although I have to think it's an extreme long shot, Bryant-Denny is on a huge list of possibilities for World Cup Soccer in 2018 or 2022:
http://blog.al.com/bamabeat/2009/04/bryantdenny_stadium_and_jordan.html

Though far-fetched, I do wonder what Tuscaloosa and the stadium will be like by then ? Perhaps Tuscaloosa will have regular air service by then ?
The stadium is expanding to over 100,000 seats next year, but will there be yet another expansion by the time the soccer event happens ?
By 2018 or 2022, can we imagine a 115,000-seat Bryant Denny on a 40,000-student UA campus in a Tuscaloosa with a healthy, revitalized downtown, a completed Riverwalk, and regular flights to Atlanta ?

tascalisa
Apr 12, 2009, 7:15 PM
I think the airport, riverwalk, downtown, student population, and stadium details are all going to happen. Though, the stadium part, not so likely.

The airport is eventually going to get flights again, it's inevitable. With the growth that Tuscaloosa has been experiencing (city population wise, it has been outpacing most Alabama cities in the past few years), it's going to happen. Downtown is already being fixed, and eventually Bryant-Drive, I imagine, will probably be another district similar to The Strip. The riverwalk is well on its way to being completed. The student population is ever growing, and the stadium continues to fill up.

We just gotta keep the momentum going. Fortunately, we have officials in the city and university that work together to make all of that happen.

ttownfeen
Apr 13, 2009, 12:09 AM
Praise for our city leaders from the Birmingham News.

http://blog.al.com/kevin-scarbinsky/2009/04/scarbinsky_if_tuscaloosa_aubur.html

tascalisa
Apr 13, 2009, 3:57 AM
A very good article. Decatur is a good city to look at when you want to see the effects of bringing sports events to the city. Millions upon millions of dollars have been brought to the city since they started building new facilities and renovating old ones.

Birmingham, really needs to learn a lesson from this.

ttownfeen
Apr 15, 2009, 1:17 AM
Yes, that sounds like MIB (HM Comer Hall).


Seems unlikely since they are still doing renovations in there for the Civil engineering department's expansion.

I think it's far more likely to be East Engineering since I believe electrical engineering is moving into Bevill once chemical engineering moves into Shelby II.

ttownfeen
Apr 15, 2009, 1:23 AM
The airport is eventually going to get flights again, it's inevitable. With the growth that Tuscaloosa has been experiencing (city population wise, it has been outpacing most Alabama cities in the past few years), it's going to happen.

I would really love to see air service return to Tuscaloosa, but I doubt any increase in demand for Tuscaloosa as a destination would do anything but increase traffic at BHM. It just seems that the airline industry is in a perpetual state of belt-tightening and wouldn't be looking to start service to a whole new city with an already serviced airport one hour away.

ttownfeen
Apr 23, 2009, 7:59 PM
Looks like the state is pushing hard for the Department of Mental Health to sell the Bryce property and build a new mental health facility in Tuscaloosa County.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090423/NEWS/904229938/1007?Title=Legislators-seek-Bryce-replacement

DMHMR apparently has a lot of land in Tuscaloosa County.

DruidCity
Apr 23, 2009, 9:06 PM
I think the state mental health department owns several thousand acres in Tuscaloosa County (mostly undeveloped rural land in assorted chunks).
Much of the current UA campus east of Hackberry Lane (and I think maybe even where Wings and Hampton Inn is) was originally Bryce property,
as well as the city's public golf course north of the river (Ol' Colony), plus there's that "haunted" building in Northport near the airport.

I echo this guy :
“I urge you to adopt an amendment to build a facility in this area, a state facility to look at the mentally ill, as we are required by the laws of the state, and not renege on our obligation and not dump it on the city of Tuscaloosa and the county of Tuscaloosa,” McArthur said.


There are some mentally ill people who need state help. They can't support themselves and in some cases present danger to themselves and others.
Some bureaucrats in other parts of the state want to "save state money" by simply dumping these poor folks on the street, at Tuscaloosa's expense .
By all means, any resolution to the Bryce situation should include a proper
facility for those who need it.

Although the $85 million price tag seems too steep in the current economic climate, I expect the university will find a way to purchase that land.
Rehabbing the "big building" is quite a challenge, but it and the state capitol in Montgomery were arguably the state's two largest buildings for many years, and with proper investment, could become a real showpiece.

An interesting follow-up to the Bryce situation is the future of Partlow Developmental Center, which itself is sitting on a 250-acre campus, with some state pressure to downsize.

tascalisa
Apr 23, 2009, 9:26 PM
Any idea EXACTLY what's goin on at Bryce right now? From my dorm I can see that they're definitely renovating the dome on top of the main building. But, the sign front of the campus makes it seem like much more is going on.

DruidCity
Apr 23, 2009, 9:54 PM
I'm wondering the same. It beats me.

What does everyone think should be done with the main Bryce building ?
Should it be preserved as some sort of museum, and if so, should it be the state's responsibility rather than the university's ?

ttownfeen
May 10, 2009, 3:12 AM
I think, given the size of the main building, it would be well-suited to house a central university museum, combining all the different cultural, historical and scientific artifacts in UA's possession, instead of the various scattered museums that nobody goes to because they so inaccessible.

ttownfeen
May 10, 2009, 3:16 AM
Apparently, it's a municipal election year. Walt Maddox already has his re-election website up.

http://www.waltmaddox.com/

So far, nobody else has announced they are running for mayor to my best recollection.

ttownfeen
May 12, 2009, 3:14 PM
Bryce property sale discussions ongoing

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090512/NEWS/905119901/1007?Title=Input-on-Bryce-proposal-sought

After at least four years of talk, it appears a decision on whether to sell the Bryce campus to UA will be made this summer.

tascalisa
May 12, 2009, 10:18 PM
It would be amazing if they would sell the property to the university. The State doesn't seem to want to take the initiative to fix the place up. The school needs more classroom/office space. The school has the resources and interest in maintaining the facility.

Even if it would cost a lot of money to fix the structure up, I'm sure they university, recognizing the historical significance of the place and would invest in it. Much like the are in Foster Auditorium.

DruidCity
May 12, 2009, 10:51 PM
It sure sounds like Riley's crew is trying to screw our community (Tuscaloosa as a whole, the university, and the patients) in this deal. It sounds like the state is proposing shifting some key jobs to Birmingham (which shafts Tuscaloosa, which has carried the heavy burden of practically the whole state's mental health responsibilities for most of the state's history),
asking the university to pay double the amount the Bryce property was appraised for, and would turn some of the patients loose (which poses potential risks to themselves and others).

All that said, the upshot is that if those problems can be worked out, the university's expansion onto this choice property has all sorts of potential.

atlanta68
May 15, 2009, 3:44 AM
Druid City,

I agree with you. The state leaders are acting like the UA is a private school with Harvard like financial resources. I think the UA's financial resources are greatly exagerrated by many. The state of Alabama would be smart to invest more in UA, to help UA become a top notch institution that is a magnet for new industry and prosperity.

ttownfeen
May 18, 2009, 4:47 PM
I think the state's just trying to do what in its best interest. They might be overestimating the amount they need since they know UA will probably negotiate down the selling price.

Bogue
May 22, 2009, 8:40 AM
badrock, what are they doing with Foster? I must've missed that. I was in Burke my freshman year and walked by it daily.

Druid, I'd like to see a museum there. I'm curious as to whether the university could convert the structure internally to adequately exhibit their other collections as an old structure like that has certain limitations, I'm sure. I will agree that the UA's collections (which are actually really cool) need to be centralized. I think a portion of the building being used as a museum w/ the rest as offices is probably the direction they'll take from what everyone says.

The rest of that area is an interesting question, though. There aren't any other buildings of real significance there and I'd hope they would all be torn down and new structures complimentary to the old main building would be erected, but we'll see. Anyone know what the UA would have in mind for the rest of that property going forward?

I think simply expanding other mental health facilities around the state would help take the load as the total # of patients at Bryce has dwindled over the years. There's a large mental health hospital in Mt. Vernon, AL (north of Mobile on US43) that probably would have room to be expanded. I'm sure other places exist around the state. That would at least bandage the wound until a new facility could be built... if one were still necessary in Tuscaloosa.

ttownfeen
May 22, 2009, 6:09 PM
Bogue, the athletics administration announced a plan a month ago to renovate Foster Auditorium and move women's basketball and volleyball from Coleman Coliseum to Foster.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090422/NEWS/904219911

nimsjus
May 22, 2009, 9:35 PM
I think simply expanding other mental health facilities around the state would help take the load as the total # of patients at Bryce has dwindled over the years. There's a large mental health hospital in Mt. Vernon, AL (north of Mobile on US43) that probably would have room to be expanded. I'm sure other places exist around the state. That would at least bandage the wound until a new facility could be built... if one were still necessary in Tuscaloosa.

They have actually been in discussions about shutting Searcy (Mt. Vernon) down, and moving the patients to other facilities (potentially in Mobile or potentiallyelsewhere in the state). Search actually just shifted a couple of hundred patients to Bryce and another facility.

ttownfeen
May 27, 2009, 7:31 PM
Mayor wants to develop a new economic incentive policy to help lure more stores to Tuscaloosa.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090527/NEWS/905269907

DruidCity
May 28, 2009, 1:04 AM
Thanks for keeping up the links. I just got back this afternoon from 2 weeks in Texas.

I do think Tuscaloosa is well-positioned right now. Because we never saw the retail boom that the rest of the country did, our retail sector has nowhere to go but up. I also give us props for the fact that our main retail area is still centrally located, rather than moving ever-farther out (Birmingham and Montgomery have had some problems with that).

Now, for the fun part, where is the best location for these "missing link" national chains, and what if any incentives should there be for existing stores and/or local start-ups ?

ttownfeen
May 28, 2009, 3:18 PM
Now, for the fun part, where is the best location for these "missing link" national chains, and what if any incentives should there be for existing stores and/or local start-ups ?

Two locations come to mind immediately: McFarland Plaza, which fought back from being left for dead only to get gutted once again by Midtown, and the recent Pate Holdings aquisition - McFarland Mall, which is pretty much dead.

The western half of Tuscaloosa needs a better shopping options. I also think the Woodland Forrest area is ripe for commercial development. There is interstate-front property in that area that is completely undeveloped.

DruidCity
May 28, 2009, 3:43 PM
Two locations come to mind immediately: McFarland Plaza, which fought back from being left for dead only to get gutted once again by Midtown, and the recent Pate Holdings aquisition - McFarland Mall, which is pretty much dead.

The western half of Tuscaloosa needs a better shopping options. I also think the Woodland Forrest area is ripe for commercial development. There is interstate-front property in that area that is completely undeveloped

My main concern with both McFarland Mall and Woodland Forest is that, while they're right along the interstate, stuff on that end of town isn't going to be as convenient for the university area and north of the river as the existing retail cluster around Midtown/University Mall is. I think they could make it work, anyway, but only if they offer stores that people can't find closer in and/or if they offer something interesting enough to pull visitors in off the interstate.

I definitely agree with McFarland Plaza filling in, since it's so close to the Midtown/Meadowbrook/University Mall stuff.

One area I've wondered about is the current site of Tuscaloosa Middle School.
If UA does acquire Bryce, that would be extremely convenient and visible, and a middle school doesn't really need to be in such a high-traffic location, anyway.

As for the western part of town, I think even (God forbid) a Wal-Mart would be welcome there. Pate owns some junky-looking industrial site along the I-359 spur into downtown that would be convenient for a whole lot of people.

ttownfeen
May 29, 2009, 1:39 AM
Yeah, I had not though about McFarland between University Blvd and Jack Warner Pkwy since it's basically like a freeway. That area would be perfect for retail development. They really need to expand McFarland to 6 six lanes.

ttownfeen
Jun 2, 2009, 3:36 PM
Here are pictures from the hot air balloon races that were held in Tuscaloosa this past weekend. (These photos are not mine.) I'll update if I can find some more.

http://picasaweb.google.com/Hannabanana333/ForWeb?authkey=Gv1sRgCJ2iz6jtgYDkkQE#slideshow/5342074099057017106

More info, the races moved from Miami to Tuscaloosa (a somewhat random move, but an appreciated one nonetheless).

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090527/NEWS/905269943/1012/OPINION?Title=Balloon-race-is-a-good-sign-of-city-s-growth-

DruidCity
Jun 2, 2009, 4:18 PM
I'm glad to see what the balloon race looked like. I had planned to go, but some other stuff came up. I did hear on WVUA7 TV that they do plan to return to Tuscaloosa next year.

For any of the city's faults, it has stepped up in a pretty big way with events recently : Delta Queen riverboat a year or two back, the big triathlon deal,
the Blue Angels (which I did go to see), and the state high school football championship this fall. Hopefully, the city will be just as successful attracting regional events to the amphitheater when it opens next year.

ttownfeen
Jun 2, 2009, 5:30 PM
Another thing you can add to the list is Boy's State (http://www.alboysstate.org/), which moved from Montevallo (or Troy, can't remember which) to Tuscaloosa a couple of years ago (though it was probably more UA's doing than Tuscaloosa).

I'm sure having a bunch of future leaders in Tuscaloosa for a week doing community service can only help gain exposure for the city.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090602/NEWS/906019928/1007?Title=Boys-State-students-will-renovate-Tuscaloosa-parks

ttownfeen
Jun 8, 2009, 4:47 PM
Editorial about the need for improving Moores Bridge Road north of Tuscaloosa.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090608/NEWS/906079933/1012/OPINION?Title=Rural-roads-in-need-of-improvements

ttownfeen
Jun 22, 2009, 7:40 PM
A broad-looking article on the future of downtown Tuscaloosa.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090621/NEWS/906209988/

tascalisa
Jun 27, 2009, 6:53 PM
Gah... this article is pretty startling.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090627/news/906269881

It seems that now Tuscaloosa is having a problem with it's classroom numbers. It's getting harder and harder to ignore the growth that is going on around town. Eventually, the state is going to have to help out, this is getting ridiculous. I can't wait to see what the new city population estimates are for Alabama

ttownfeen
Jun 29, 2009, 12:58 AM
I am interested in seeing what the numbers are for Tuscaloosa and the surrounding areas, especially the Taylorville area mentioned in the article.

tascalisa
Jul 15, 2009, 10:26 PM
Ttown News Article (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090715/news/907159978)

An article saying that the city lost 14,000 dollars with the air show. Though, I don't think you can truly say that the city didn't regain that money in some other way, maybe via sales tax.

There were surely over 100,000 people there on that Saturday.

ttownfeen
Jul 23, 2009, 2:36 AM
So, qualifying for municipal elections ended yesterday. Nobody entered the race to run against Walt Maddox for mayor, so he unofficially gets another four years. Only 3 councilors out of 7 total will face opposition on August 25th.

I think that speaks well for the job the city government has done these past four years.

tascalisa
Jul 28, 2009, 6:19 AM
The Tuscaloosa News reported that the University of Alabama is no longer in the Top 20 party schools. I think this is definitely a good thing. It means that the school is turning into a better institution in my opinion, and more students are spending more time studying.

While the school has dropped from the Top 20, party opportunities in Ttown have continued to grow, so it's obvious that students are still having fun. I just hope that this is a sign that students are doing it more responsibly.

Evan
Jul 28, 2009, 11:22 AM
Man, for what it's worth, I'm so jealous of Tuscaloosa. You guys are getting all these cool new developments and getting your riverfront spiffed up, while we are sitting up here in these mountains going nowhere. :( Hey, can we borrow Walt for a few years? We'll loan you our mayor AND pay you to take him. :D

DruidCity
Jul 28, 2009, 1:47 PM
So, qualifying for municipal elections ended yesterday. Nobody entered the race to run against Walt Maddox for mayor, so he unofficially gets another four years. Only 3 councilors out of 7 total will face opposition on August 25th.

It is unusual to have so many run unopposed.
I'm glad that my councilperson (Cynthia Almond) is one of them, since she's my distant cousin.

tascalisa
Jul 28, 2009, 6:05 PM
Well, Druid City, that's probably because everyone feels that the city officials have been doing a pretty good job so far. Hopefully it continues...

Evan, yea, Tuscaloosa is lucky, but trust me Gadsden is doin pretty good compared to a lot of other cities. The river front expansion that was done a few years back across the street from Riverview Medical Center looks great, and the new developments along Meighan a few years back really made the area look better. Don't worry, Gadsden will probably get some stuff goin once the recession calms down.

ttownfeen
Jul 28, 2009, 7:54 PM
Hey, can we borrow Walt for a few years? We'll loan you our mayor AND pay you to take him. :D

I doubt Walt will be forever content to remain mayor of Tuscaloosa. Look for him to run for higher office after this next term ends in 2013.

Evan
Jul 28, 2009, 9:14 PM
I doubt Walt will be forever content to remain mayor of Tuscaloosa. Look for him to run for higher office after this next term ends in 2013.

Oh, I don't doubt that, he seems to be a spunky little fucker. I like him because he's young, energetic, and he doesn't seem to be afraid to try something outside the norm for this state. I know he isn't perfect, I read about both his pro's and con's, but I like the guy.

I would not be afraid to put my faith in him on a statewide level.

tascalisa
Jul 31, 2009, 8:45 AM
The Tuscaloosa Metro area had one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the country during the first half of the year. Tuscaloosa was ranked 200th out of 203 metros.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090731/news/907309942

ttownfeen
Oct 9, 2009, 1:54 AM
Some big development on the Bryce property story.

Department of Mental Health rejects UA's Bryce offer (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091008/NEWS/910089972/1007?Title=Department-of-Mental-Health-rejects-UA-s-Bryce-offer)

Basically, the state wants $84.2 million for the 175-acre Bryce property to cover the costs of building of new hospital building and moving 2/3 of the existing patients over there. The new hospital would be on another property the Department of Mental Health owns in Tuscaloosa (Partlow). The other 1/3 of patients would be moved to community facilities across the state.

The property was appraised for $50 million. UA this week offered $60 dollars for the property with some money to go for enviromental cleanup and preservation of the historical main building at Bryce.

</summary>

How classy of Bob Riley to make threats about moving jobs in this economy.

tascalisa
Oct 9, 2009, 2:46 AM
I think the University was just trying to test them to see how low they would really go. If the state decides to move the patients to the Carraway Hospital property in Birmingham, then there's a big chance that, that number the state wants would go down.

We just have to wait and see.

DruidCity
Oct 9, 2009, 2:56 AM
How classy of Bob Riley to make threats about moving jobs in this economy.

It sure is interesting that Riley supported giving Auburn $10 million of state money for a research park, yet appears hell-bent to screw Bama over on its attempt to acquire a comparable amount of land:
http://www.ocm.auburn.edu/news_releases/parksupport.html

Dyingyak
Oct 9, 2009, 2:33 PM
Considering the appraised cost of the land whatever environmental impacts need to be addressed $60-70 million seems like a fairly responsible offer. Of course a higher offer would help expedite the sale, but I wouldn't be surprised to see UA get it for much more than they offered.

Wouldn't mind seeing some of the patients and jobs transferred to Carraway, sure is sad to look out the window and see that facility sitting there unused.

Riley pledged that $10 million to Auburn over 5 years ago...

ttownfeen
Oct 9, 2009, 4:28 PM
Updated story with more details (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091009/NEWS/910089926/1007?Title=University-s-60M-bid-for-Bryce-turned-down)

Area politician are understandably not so keen on the prospect of moving 650 jobs out of Tuscaloosa County. It was apparently the owners of Carraway Hospital that proposed this idea to Governor Riley.

tascalisa
Oct 9, 2009, 9:24 PM
I think the benefits that could come from UA taking over the Bryce Property more than outweigh the costs. The amount of jobs moved out of Bryce would probably be more than made up for by the numerous jobs that would be created with the University's utilization of the property.

The possibility of a museum, extra classrooms, more office space, plus the addition of even more history to the campus would make this a win win. Carraway gets saved from meeting the same fate that Bryce is, and Bryce gets saved while allowing the University to have more space to expand.

Bogue
Oct 10, 2009, 12:32 PM
I agree w/ badrock. The amount of jobs won/loss is probably going to be either a net positive or a wash (depending on what the UA puts there and how long it takes for them to do so).

I also agree w/ dyingyak that it's sort of sad seing a functional hospital sitting empty.

I'm a fan of the UA purchasing this property and I understand Witt wanting it and not wanting to pay a huge amount of the money he's stewarding for the UA to get it. That said, I hope they do up the price a bit. If the paperwork is legit and the state's mental health folks would take a $24M hit I dunno' that it would be a moral "win" for the UA to get it. There's an awful lot of folk in this state which need mental health care at a safe, clean, and progressive mental health facility.

DruidCity
Oct 10, 2009, 2:36 PM
My biggest issue with this whole deal is the state's lack of responsibility in the matter.

I understand the mental health system's standpoint, and need for a quality, modern facility. I understand UA's need of that land for expansion.

That said, two big sticking points to me are the environmental cleanup and the historic preservation. These should be the responsibility of the state, not the university OR the mental health system. The state allowed the property to decay to its current condition over many generations.
If that grand building were located anywhere else in the state, or served any population other than the mentally ill, the state would've maintained it in better condition, and that should be a source of shame for the entire state.
It should not be UA's sole cross to bear to cover the state's gross negligence in this matter.

ttownfeen
Oct 10, 2009, 5:29 PM
I interested in knowing what the distribution of employees by category is at Bryce. How many doctors, nurses, and paramedicals are there. Theoretically, administrative, clerical and support staff jobs could be recovered by UA (though I don't see how that's a guarantee), but I don't see those medical positions being so easily replaced. Furthermore, allowing UA to fill in the vaccuum created by the departure of the state mental facility would make the city that much more beholden to UA. UA has much too much power for the good of the greater area as it stands.

Finally, losing the state mental hospital to Birmingham would be yet another blow the city's prestige. The state mental hospital has been in Tuscaloosa since it's founding. We let the state health science university be moved to Birmingham and UAB; we must not let the same fate fall on Bryce.

tascalisa
Oct 11, 2009, 10:02 PM
I think that having a facility that looks as bad as Bryce does right now is a bad reflection on the state anyways. Honestly, I don't think that losing the facility will hurt that city all that much. It already puts a bit of a black eye on the University when out of state potential students visit and don't understand the relationship between the University and the hospital. They see run down buildings and a fenced off property with run down, cracking roads, leading to outdated buildings. That definitely does not help the school in the way of the students, and more importantly, the parents ;)

I understand what you mean with the prestige detail, and in most cases I would agree. However, the state simply doesn't have the resources, or initiative, to take care of the facilities, and if they don't the University needs to take it one because it does have the resources.

Besides, I'm honestly more concerned with treating the patients better and giving them better lives, which I'm convinced would have more potential to occur if the main facility were in Birmingham. Frankly, Birmingham has much better doctors, a larger population, a larger jobs sector to provide opportunities for rehab. Not to mention that the facility moving to Birmingham would create an enormous opportunity to help educational and research efforts at UAB; and by helping those two things out, you could in turn aid the mental health facility.

ttownfeen
Oct 11, 2009, 11:10 PM
I think that having a facility that looks as bad as Bryce does right now is a bad reflection on the state anyways. Honestly, I don't think that losing the facility will hurt that city all that much. It already puts a bit of a black eye on the University when out of state potential students visit and don't understand the relationship between the University and the hospital. They see run down buildings and a fenced off property with run down, cracking roads, leading to outdated buildings. That definitely does not help the school in the way of the students, and more importantly, the parents ;)


Those poor babies.

I understand what you mean with the prestige detail, and in most cases I would agree. However, the state simply doesn't have the resources, or initiative, to take care of the facilities, and if they don't the University needs to take it one because it does have the resources.

Besides, I'm honestly more concerned with treating the patients better and giving them better lives, which I'm convinced would have more potential to occur if the main facility were in Birmingham. Frankly, Birmingham has much better doctors, a larger population, a larger jobs sector to provide opportunities for rehab. Not to mention that the facility moving to Birmingham would create an enormous opportunity to help educational and research efforts at UAB; and by helping those two things out, you could in turn aid the mental health facility.

I seriously doubt another 600 patient hospital is going to benefit Birmingham as much as loosing one would hurt Tuscaloosa. I also seriously doubt there would be any change in patient care. Also, how is it so bad here? You don't think they actually use the main building do you? It just sits there for historical purposes. The patients are in other facilities on the Bryce campus. Have you ever been inside the campus?

tascalisa
Oct 12, 2009, 1:14 AM
Yes, I have been inside the campus, I live less than a mile from it... I didn't think, and nor did I imply, that the patients were being held in the main building. I know, that is mostly for administration.

The campus, just looking at it, it seems like like it can't be all that efficient. If there is a specific doctor needed in a certain building, and he or she is not already there, they've gotta walk or drive a certain distance to get there.

It just seems like it would help overall if you were to consolidate all of these things into one building.

Also, I never made the argument that Birmingham would benefit more than Tuscaloosa would be hurt. I argued that both UAB and the patients could stand to benefit from this.

And honestly, who cares which city it benefits or which city it hurts, we should be more concerned with how this helps or hurts the patients. After all, is that the purpose of the Mental Health Department? You know, helping the patients? Their job is not to aid or disrupt economic growth.

Bottom line is, a study should be done to see what is in the best interest of the patients. That may be to stay at Bryce, I dunno, I'm not an expert. Either way, if the state finds it is better to stay at Bryce, then it needs to give it the resources it needs. Restoring the dome, some windows, a roof, etc... are not the only things that need to be done to that campus.

ttownfeen
Oct 12, 2009, 2:06 AM
The thing is before this Carraway idea was brought up, the assumption was that a new facility would be built on the campus of Partlow hospital. This would bring all the DMH facilities in Tuscaloosa onto one campus.

We can assume that all proposals lead to same end for the patients under the care of the DMH - consolidation under one facility with some patients transferred to community care - and we aren't here to discuss mental health policy, so I'm just thinking in terms of the end results for Tuscaloosa. In that regard, it would be better for Tuscaloosa for the the hospital to stay here, while it would be good for UAB and Birmingham if the hospital moved there.

tascalisa
Oct 12, 2009, 5:48 AM
Hmmm, I hadn't thought of the Partlow detail. If they were to do that, I'd be all in favor of it.

ttownfeen
Oct 18, 2009, 4:45 PM
Some national accolades:

Tuscaloosa was ranked of the 50 Best Places to Launch a Small Business by Fortune Small Business magazine in their November 2009 issue.

http://money.cnn.com/smallbusiness/best_places_launch/2009/

ttownfeen
Oct 18, 2009, 5:11 PM
Bryce impass: Riley to tour Carraway (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091018/NEWS/910179889/1007?Title=Bryce-impass-Riley-to-tour-Carraway)

An update on the whole Bryce situation.

tascalisa
Oct 18, 2009, 8:00 PM
Some national accolades:

Tuscaloosa was ranked of the 50 Best Places to Launch a Small Business by Fortune Small Business magazine in their November 2009 issue.

http://money.cnn.com/smallbusiness/best_places_launch/2009/

WOW, the ENTIRE state did better than every other state in the southeast outside of North Carolina, and better than most other states. Very impressive. Congrats to Huntsville and Auburn too. Articles like this actually go a long way in attracting people and business.

ttownfeen
Oct 23, 2009, 4:10 PM
City of Tuscaloosa has authorized a lawsuit to block the sale of Bryce to UA. Does anyone even care that the patient might get better treatment at a different location? The state should decide to do what is in the best interest of the patients. If that mean staying at Bryce, building at Partlow, moving to Birmingham, whatever it is, they should do whatever is best for patients.

I think the lawsuit is a little short-sided. The expansion of UA onto the Bryce campus is to good an opportunity to pass up. In all likelihood - more revenue would probably be generated in transitioning the property to University usage than having it remain in it's current capacity - or updated capacity.

I don't see it short-sighted. Possibly grand-standing, but I think the lawsuit is more symbolic than anything else. If I'm a city leader, I'm thinking that since the best interest of the patients is the same regardless of the location, the key factor is that it's in the best interest of the area that 600+ jobs and the status and mental health center of the state stay in Tuscaloosa.

I'm also not buying that's any jobs created by the acquisition of the Bryce property by UA would offset the loss of the state mental hospital. What are these jobs that are so dependent on the acquisition of land? That couldn't be created by the $60m that would be saved by UA not getting Bryce?

And again, I think the lawsuit is more symbolic. The understanding was that the DMH would sell Bryce to UA and take the money to build a new hospital on the Partlaw property in Tuscaloosa (that the state already owns). It was only after the DMH decided that UA was some cash cow to solve their problem that this came about.

tascalisa
Oct 23, 2009, 4:29 PM
Of course, that is assuming that the level of care the patients receive remains constant no matter where they go, which it very well may.

You're right though, it is symbolic. It is, however, wasteful and reckless. The city and the University have always had a pretty good relationship, this could go a long way towards changing that...

ttownfeen
Oct 23, 2009, 4:36 PM
Of course, that is assuming that the level of care the patients receive remains constant no matter where they go, which it very well may.

You're right though, it is symbolic. It is, however, wasteful and reckless. The city and the University have always had a pretty good relationship, this could go a long way towards changing that...

I don't think the lawsuit is directed towards UA, though. I have to go back and read what the lawsuit entails, but I believe the city is more concerned with keeping Bryce here.

Here's what Paul Davis, a board member of the DMH board wrote to the Tuscaloosa News:

MY TURN: Paul David: UA is not giving Bryce enough money credit for its past services (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091018/NEWS/910179915)

Several things to comment on:

* What an insulting notion that the University is about football, first and foremost. No, UA is a university first and foremost. It is cognizant that, paraphrasing Bear Bryant, 50,000 people don't show up to see a math test, but it is still an academic organization first and foremost.

* UA endowment is nowhere near $2 billion. The entire UA system's endowment is less than $1 billion. UA's endownment is around $500 million.

* He invokes Shelby Hall as evidence of all this money that UA is sitting on all this money and won't budge a bit to get Bryce. Need we remind him that most of the money came from the taxpayers via local sugar daddy Richard Shelby?

Basically, this boils down to the DMH wanting to take advantage of UA to solve all their problems. Even they realize that there's no way they can get $100 million from the private sector for land that requires environment cleanup, historic preservation, and dealing with multiple gravesites. That's why they're holding people's jobs hostage.

ttownfeen
Oct 23, 2009, 4:46 PM
Witt: UA will acquire Bryce

Despite city’s plans to sue, university president optimistic (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091022/NEWS/910219924/1007?Title=Witt-UA-will-acquire-Bryce)


However, Witt did say the university made a fair offer to the state for the property despite falling about $24 million short of the amount mental health officials say they want for the property.

“The governor felt it was fair and reasonable,” Witt said. “It’s still under consideration, and I am optimistic it will be accepted.”


So Riley thought the offer was fair. Interesting.

ttownfeen
Nov 3, 2009, 5:35 PM
The politicians are getting involved in this whole Bryce thing. Besides the aforementioned lawsuit, members of the local state legislature delegation are holding community meetings to get input from the public on the matter.

Public invited to comment on Bryce (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091103/NEWS/911029867/1007?Title=Public-invited-to-comment-on-Bryce)

It's tomorrow (11/4) at 5:30 at the Northport Civic Center.

ttownfeen
Nov 5, 2009, 8:05 PM
Report about the aforementioned meeting (it occured yesterday):

State still exploring options for sale of Bryce Hospital (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091105/NEWS/911049927/1007?Title=State-still-exploring-options-for-sale-of-Bryce-Hospital)




TUSCALOOSA | Its future has yet to be decided, but no one wants Bryce Hospital to move to Birmingham, a former Alabama Department of Mental Health commissioner said Wednesday during a public meeting.

“Take my word for it, the governor doesn’t,” Kathy Sawyer said.

Sawyer, who has been contracted by the state to study the feasibility of selling the Bryce Hospital property to the University of Alabama, represented Gov. Bob Riley at the meeting.

“As long as I am working on this project, I am going to do everything possible, should there be a sale, if Bryce is relocated, it’s going to be here,” Sawyer said. “And the only reason it won’t be is because this community can’t come up with the creative ways to keep it here.”

Local leaders met the public at the Northport Civic Center to discuss the possible relocation of Bryce Hospital. The meeting attracted a standing room-only crowd of about 300 people.

In response to Sawyer’s comments, state Rep. Chris England questioned why Tuscaloosa must fight for Bryce. The city of Birmingham has passed a resolution supporting Bryce’s move to the former Carraway Hospital and has offered $5 million in incentives for the state department of mental health to make the move.

The lobbyist for Carraway, Toby Roth, is the governor’s former chief of staff, and the state is gathering estimates on how much it would cost to move Bryce to Carraway, said state Rep. Alan Harper.

“Why in God’s name would two cities be in a bidding war when it’s the state’s responsibility (to care for the mentally ill) in the first place?” England said. “As far as Tuscaloosa is concerned, we don’t’ have a problem with the university purchasing the property. But if they can’t pay, you walk away and work with what you have.”

The University of Alabama is negotiating with the Alabama Department of Mental Health to purchase the 175-acre property, which would entail building or renovating another facility elsewhere to house the state mental hospital. One possibility that’s been discussed — moving Bryce Hospital to Birmingham — would uproot 650 jobs in Tuscaloosa, a move that local officials maintain would have a drastic impact on the local economy.

The state mental health department’s board of trustees met with Riley at Bryce Hospital on Oct. 8 to discuss an offer from the University of Alabama to purchase the property, which is adjacent to the university campus. It was during that meeting that the board recommended that Riley turn down UA’s $60 million offer. The mental health department estimates it would cost $84 million to build a new 268-bed, state-of-the-art hospital to replace Bryce.

John Houston, the state mental health commissioner, toured the Carraway facility with Riley last month. But Houston told employees Tuesday that he is concerned about the Birmingham facility, including its location and its size. With 600 beds, Carraway is larger than DCH Regional Medical Center.

Harper said he feels that Tuscaloosa has been left out of the decision-making process. Ultimately, he said, the sale of Bryce will be decided by Riley and Houston. “We have been left out, but what is done in the dark will come to the light,” Harper said. “Are these decisions based on funding, or what is best for mental health consumers and Bryce employees?”

Harper said that it was about dollars.

But Sawyer said that no decisions about Bryce’s future have been made and that the state is only exploring all options.

Still, employees and patients’ families said they want to ensure that patient care comes first.

If Bryce is moved to Carraway, the facilities and Norwood neighborhood would not be beneficial to patients with mental illnesses, said Richard Winster, a nurse at Bryce. If the hospital is moved out of Tuscaloosa, the employees will not have the experience and know the patients like the current employees, he added.

Houston was advised by attorneys not to speak at the meeting because of a lawsuit by the city of Tuscaloosa seeking to block Bryce’s sale, but the commissioner spoke anyway.

“Most of these conversations end up about money, but the most important thing is the people,” Houston said.

Linda Nolen, the mother of a Bryce patient, said her son has been treated in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, but nothing compares to the care he has received at Bryce.

“He’s my heart, and my heart is lying down somewhere at Bryce Hospital tonight,” Nolen said. “Thank you for your wonderful, compassionate care. There are times when you not only took care of my son, but you helped take care of me.”

ttownfeen
Nov 8, 2009, 7:20 PM
Gov. Riley can’t move Bryce, city says in suit (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091108/NEWS/911079925/1007?Title=Gov-Riley-can-t-moveBryce-city-says-in-suit)

“We do not seek to stop the sale of land to the University of Alabama, only to stop relocation of Bryce or Partlow outside of Tuscaloosa and stop privatization of essential mental health services and related relief,” Senior Associate City Attorney Tim Nunnally said in a summary attached to the lawsuit.

The city claims the right to sue because it is a taxpayer of the state and was granted the power to protect the welfare of its residents, some of whom are patients or employees of Bryce and Partlow.

There's a lot more information to be found if you read the whole article. I don't really have a comment - just wanted to share.

ttownfeen
Nov 10, 2009, 3:57 AM
University Boulevard to get a facelift (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091109/NEWS/911089932/1007?Title=University-Boulevard-to-get-a-facelift)

UA will make improvements to University Boulevard between DCH and campus, including the installation of a grassy median. Oddly enough (and sadly), the road won't be repaved, so you can continue to set your clock by the bumps in the concrete on the section of road.

edit: Not sure why I posted this on the discussion thread.

tascalisa
Nov 10, 2009, 4:49 AM
University Boulevard to get a facelift (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091109/NEWS/911089932/1007?Title=University-Boulevard-to-get-a-facelift)

UA will make improvements to University Boulevard between DCH and campus, including the installation of a grassy median. Oddly enough (and sadly), the road won't be repaved, so you can continue to set your clock by the bumps in the concrete on the section of road.

edit: Not sure why I posted this on the discussion thread.

I'm glad they're finally doing something to fix it. Maybe they'll give the MDB a nice little "Bandie X-ing" pedestrian walkway so that we won't have to risk our lives on Fridays! Haha, either way, this will really enhance to the busiest entrance to the campus.

Btw, don't worry bout it ;) just post it in the UA Updates thread next time.

ttownfeen
Dec 3, 2009, 6:07 PM
Super 6 will serve as showcase for Tuscaloosa (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091203/NEWS/912029897/1004/SPORTS)

Riley asks mental health leaders to consider shifting psychiatric hospital to Birmingham (http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/12/post_262.html)

Talks to move Bryce ramp up (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091203/NEWS/912039997/1007?Title=Talks-to-move-Bryce-ramp-up)

The third article (T-News) is very informative of all the politics that are behind every single government function that occurs in this state. These are people's livelihoods the politicians are wrangling over.

ttownfeen
Dec 3, 2009, 6:18 PM
Why is the state giving Mercedes $100m to restore 1,000 that used to be here?? :shrug:

Tuscaloosa gives $10 million incentive (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091203/NEWS/912039999)

ttownfeen
Dec 16, 2009, 10:06 PM
Legislators: Bryce deal close (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091216/NEWS/912169999/1007?Title=Legislators-Bryce-deal-close)

State officials are working on a deal involving a $22 million bond issue that would facilitate the sale of Bryce Hospital to the University of Alabama, keeping the hospital's services and jobs in Tuscaloosa County, officials said Tuesday

ttownfeen
Dec 21, 2009, 6:27 PM
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=TL&Date=20091221&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=912209958&Ref=AR&Profile=1007

Businesses, improvements spruce up downtown (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091221/NEWS/912209958/1007?Title=Businesses-improvements-spruce-up-downtown#)

Downtown Tuscaloosa's nightlife has gotten brighter — literally.

Stand on the corner of Greensboro Avenue and University Boulevard at dusk, and observers will notice the lighted red and white street signs hanging above the boulevard. And then there's the red neon lights that line the roof and come partly down the side of Brown's Corner, a bar and grill that was a popular department store decades ago, built in 1926.

It's all part of the changing face of downtown, an effort by local government and businesses to make downtown more inviting.

ttownfeen
Dec 21, 2009, 7:58 PM
Too many vacancies? (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091221/NEWS/912199958/1001?Title=Too-many-vacancies-)

New apartments and dorms built this decade have severely weakened the rental market, and more construction means a grim outlook for property owners, according to a market survey.

Overall, one of every 10 rental units is vacant, and the situation has some owners asking the city for stricter measures on future developments.

'Despite record enrollment at the University of Alabama, the overall rental market is weaker than it has been in decades, and possibly at its weakest point ever,' said a report by Rock Apartment Advisors in Birmingham.

The firm was hired by the Home Builders Association of Tuscaloosa to study the rental market in the Tuscaloosa area, including Northport and some non-incorporated areas. The research team surveyed the owners of about 13,000 units in 152 apartment complexes, 14 condominium developments, all public and university housing and 563 rental homes this fall.

ttownfeen
Dec 29, 2009, 9:44 PM
Mental Health board to discuss Bryce (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091229/NEWS/912289945/1007?Title=Mental-Health-board-to-discuss-Bryce)

The Department of Mental Health Advisory Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss Bryce Hospital, but details of the meeting are not known.

“It’s about continued discussions of Bryce Hospital,” Jeff Emerson, the communications director for Gov. Bob Riley, said Monday.

The Birmingham New is claiming that the meeting will be to make a final decision about the sale.

ttownfeen
Dec 30, 2009, 8:56 PM
Well the decision has been made, and it's no surprise:

Mental Health Board votes to negotiate with UA (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091230/NEWS/912309997)

The DMH will sell the Bryce property to UA and build a new facility on the Partlow campus in Tuscaloosa.

tascalisa
Dec 30, 2009, 10:42 PM
Best decision, IMO. Keep the jobs in town, and the patients continue to get care from the same physicians that they've had for years.

Plus, it gives the state a chance to maintain the Partlow property so that both out historic psychiatric hospitals can be valued assets to the city and state. I'm looking forward to what UA plans to do with the main building.

DruidCity
Dec 31, 2009, 1:07 AM
Tuscaloosa is on a pretty good roll, considering the national economy.
The amphitheater and downtown revitalization are going up, Mercedes will add the C class, Bryce is staying in town, a football national championship is a real possibility, and the university continues to expand.

I heard that there will be planning meetings about the "Shelby 4" building
in January, and that tentatively, the plan will be to eliminate part or all of HM Comer Hall to make room.

tascalisa
Dec 31, 2009, 3:21 AM
The new construction at Partlow, then the jobs that are being shifted over there should really help out the Alberta area. It's about time some quality work was placed in that part of town.

ttownfeen
Dec 31, 2009, 7:40 PM
Bryce deal reached (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20091231/NEWS/912309974/1007?Title=Bryce-deal-reached)

To keep Bryce in Tuscaloosa, the state had to get involved in raising the difference between UA's offer, which included preserving the historic main building on the Bryce campus, and the cost of a new facility.

“If we were ever going to do something now was the time to do it,” Riley said at the board meeting Wednesday.

The gap will be filled by lowering the price about $2 million and floating a $22 million state bond paid back with royalties from oil and gas reserves.

Last week, the Amendment 666 Bond Commission gave the state Finance Department the authority to start the bond process with a financial adviser and bond counsel.

The Amendment 666 Bond Commission is named after the state constitutional amendment that authorizes bonds for economic development.

“Economic development comes in all different shapes and sizes, and we absolutely believe that our universities drive economic development,” Riley said about using the bond commission's authority.

The bond issue could occur in February, said state Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, a member of the bond commission and part of what Riley called a coalition of leaders, led by state Sen. Phil Poole, D-Tuscaloosa, who helped broker a deal.

“It's more complicated than we could explain today,” Poole said at the news conference. “This is no snap decision. We, after long study, think this is the best deal.”

Riley said building a new, state-of-the-art hospital for mental health patients was the driving force behind the deal.

“When we started looking at this one year ago, we had one priority: Can you build a world-class, state-of-the-art facility and at the same time allow this to be preserved because it is a part of our history? There has never been a discussion that has ever looked at anything else other than that,” Riley said.

Jeff82
Jan 2, 2010, 6:43 AM
Tuscaloosa is on a pretty good roll, considering the national economy.
The amphitheater and downtown revitalization are going up, Mercedes will add the C class, Bryce is staying in town, a football national championship is a real possibility, and the university continues to expand.

I heard that there will be planning meetings about the "Shelby 4" building
in January, and that tentatively, the plan will be to eliminate part or all of HM Comer Hall to make room.

Has the school released any renderings of the 3rd phase of the Shelby buildings?

ttownfeen
Jan 2, 2010, 7:57 AM
I heard that there will be planning meetings about the "Shelby 4" building
in January, and that tentatively, the plan will be to eliminate part or all of HM Comer Hall to make room.

Haven't heard anything about Shelby IV, but I can't see them eliminating HM Comer, at least not this soon. There are several research and teaching facilities there, such as the metallurgical engineering department's foundry and the chemical engineering department's chemical processes high bay.

tascalisa
Jan 2, 2010, 11:24 AM
Haven't heard anything about Shelby IV, but I can't see them eliminating HM Comer, at least not this soon. There are several research and teaching facilities there, such as the metallurgical engineering department's foundry and the chemical engineering department's chemical processes high bay.

Well, that's why they're not building the entire complex at once. If they did, there would be quite a few departments without a lot of space. I imagine that they'll move what's in HM into one of the new buildings then tear down HM.

I'm quite sure it's part of the master plan, to do that. But of course, I've been wrong before.

ttownfeen
Feb 22, 2010, 3:54 AM
$35 million regional school to be proposed (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20100221/NEWS/100229986/1007?p=all&tc=pgall#)

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=TL&Date=20100221&Categhttp://forum.skyscraperpage.com/editpost.php?do=editpost&p=4711593ory=NEWS&ArtNo=100229986&Ref=AR&Profile=1007

TUSCALOOSA | The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama plans to present its vision of a new regional high school to the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education on Monday.

The West Alabama Regional Collegiate High School that the chamber hopes to create would be a career preparatory high school for West Alabama residents. The school would focus on technical, leadership and work force skills in additional to offering the academics necessary for students to receive a high school diploma.

Johnnie Aycock, president of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, said the chamber put together a regional high school task force to determine how to create the school.



Looks like a great, forward-thinking idea on the part of the Chamber of Commerice!

ttownfeen
Feb 22, 2010, 6:27 PM
McFarland Mall struggles to keep stores (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20100221/NEWS/100229950/1001?p=1&tc=pg)

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=TL&Date=20100221&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=100229950&Ref=AR&Profile=1001&MaxW=600&border=0

In recent years, McFarland Mall has struggled, losing first its movie theater, then some of its key anchor stores and most recently many of the smaller retailers that depend on the big stores to attract shoppers.

Today, empty storefronts outnumber ongoing businesses. Only one fast-food shop remains in the food court. And at least two of the remaining merchants have signs proclaiming they are going out of business.

Outside, potholes dot the mall’s parking lot, and spray-painted graffiti marks the walls in the merchandise delivery area at the rear of the mall.

At lunchtime one day last week, McFarland Mall was virtually deserted inside, save the long line of people at the Tuscaloosa County courthouse satellite office.

atlanta68
Mar 8, 2010, 4:17 AM
http://www.whitakerandrawson.com/gallery.php?p_id=136&pt_id=2&p_ref=1

ttownfeen
May 26, 2010, 7:05 AM
UA, Bryce sale agreement to be completed this week (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20100525/NEWS/100529724/1007?Title=UA-Bryce-sale-agreement-to-be-completed-this-week)

Nothing substantial in the story, honestly. No timetable has been set for when the property will actually change hands, or when the new hospital will be constructed.

ttownfeen
Jun 17, 2010, 6:46 PM
EDITORIAL: It's time for repairs to Lake Lurleen park (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20100611/NEWS/100619983/1012/opinion?p=all&tc=pgall)


When it comes to parks, highways and state funding for other projects, Tuscaloosa and the rest of West Alabama never seem to make it very high on the list of priorities. Why is that? That's a good question in this election year.

Maybe a Tuscaloosa native in the governor's office will rectify that.

ttownfeen
Jul 15, 2010, 10:57 PM
Tuscaloosa governor could bring opportunities, prestige (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20100715/NEWS/100719771/1007?p=all&tc=pgall)

If Bentley becomes governor, he would join Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby as a Tuscaloosan in a prominent elected office, which he said would be “wonderful” in his victory speech to supporters at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Tuesday night.

“We know it's been good to have a United States senator, but we don't have a lot of experience with governors,” said William Stewart, retired chairman of the University of Alabama political science department. “Now all we need to get is a resident congressman.”

Shelby has brought millions upon millions of federal dollars to Tuscaloosa and the university over the years, but the governor's office isn't set up for a politician to bring home the bacon, so to speak. Besides, there likely will not be a lot of money to throw around in the next few years, given strained state budgets, Stewart said.

The main benefit Bentley could offer Tuscaloosa is an entree for local people, he said.

“Obviously, you couldn't quantify what benefit it would be to Tuscaloosa, but it's only natural to help your own people to the extent you can,” Stewart said.

Maddox said Bentley would put the state ahead of local interests but would give the city a fair shake.

“The biggest plus for the region is that we know him, and when you know someone, you establish a working relationship that gives you a better opportunity to be successful,” Maddox said. “I don't think anybody has any illusions that if Dr. Bentley is governor that all of a sudden every road is four lanes and every issue we bring before the state government is going to be sold.

“I think it's the personal relationship that all of us have made with Dr. Bentley over the years.”

One area in which Bentley could prove to be a friend to Tuscaloosa is the rebuilding of Bryce Hospital across McFarland Boulevard from its present campus, which was sold to UA. The money from the sale is supposed to pay for the new psychiatric hospital, but it's possible construction could become a political issue if the project proves to be more expensive than thought, Stewart said.

“A governor from Tuscaloosa could do something for that facility without being accused of helping out his home area, because it's important for the state as a whole to have a good facility for those who require hospitalization for mental illness,” he said.

Maddox said it would be a plus to have a Tuscaloosan as governor as the new facility is built and mental health services are modified.

Even if a Bentley administration offers only intangible benefits, a Tuscaloosa governor would still mean a great deal to the county, said Probate Judge Hardy McCollum.

“Let me put it this way: Ain't no way it could hurt us,” he said.

ttownfeen
Aug 2, 2010, 10:04 PM
What do you guys think of the McMansion condo flooding fiasco on Hargrove Road?

Electrical Porpoise
Aug 3, 2010, 12:43 AM
I know a few people that lost most if their stuff that was in storage units. Must have been a huge flood.

ttownfeen
Mar 10, 2011, 9:32 PM
I wonder if we'll ever be able to get commercial service back at the airport. On my most recent trip to BHM, it dwelled on me that, other than Southwest, it had become a commuter jet only airport. Who wants to drive a hour to get on commuter jet? Isn't that what we already had in Tuscaloosa years ago? Sure, BHM has Southwest, which offers nonstop flights in 737s to a few choice nonstop destinations (Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas, Pheonix, etc) but it's still only "a few".

I wonder if there's any data available breaking down the enplanements at BHM by airline and origin of passenger. It would really help in see if there's anything to this thought than hot air.

ttownfeen
Apr 2, 2011, 1:37 AM
An idea worth exploring. UA and the local governments have shown us that when they put their heads together, they can do just about anything. But I figured most presidential debates go to swing states...

Some city leaders hope Tuscaloosa could host presidential debate (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20110401/NEWS/110409972/1007?Title=Some-city-leaders-hope-Tuscaloosa-could-host-presidential-debate)

there is already some talk in Tuscaloosa about possibly hosting a presidential debate for the 2016 election.

The discussions are described as very preliminary, and it’s too early to say whether the city will even make a bid to get a debate, according to those involved.

...

Cost is a major consideration...the cost of staging the 2008 debate in Oxford was about $5 million and included preparing facilities, providing security, transportation and other accommodations

Some requirements for bidding for a presidential debate (these for the 2012 bids):

* $7,500 non-refundable application fee
* A hall of at least 17,000 square feet
* Parking near the hall to accommodate 30 large television remote trucks
* Media parking for 500 vehicles,
* A separate facility for a media center
* 3,000 hotel rooms with a 30 minute drive of the debate site

ttownfeen
Apr 2, 2011, 1:45 AM
I guess the other parts of the state won't have to worry about the Bentley administration unfairly favoring Tuscaloosa. There are over 400 jobs at stake here...

Bentley still supports closing Partlow (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20110401/NEWS/110409992/1007?p=all&tc=pgall)

Gov. Robert Bentley reiterated his support for closing the W.D. Partlow Developmental Center in Tuscaloosa, despite reversing his decision to close it on Sept. 30, his office said Thursday.

bamastu13
Apr 7, 2011, 6:13 PM
Well, that's why they're not building the entire complex at once. If they did, there would be quite a few departments without a lot of space. I imagine that they'll move what's in HM into one of the new buildings then tear down HM.

I'm quite sure it's part of the master plan, to do that. But of course, I've been wrong before.

They have several PODS behind HM Comer right now and they were supposed to be starting tearing off the back of it this semester. It looks like it will be at least summer though before they start actual work there.
But the master plan called for the front of HM Comer to be left in tact and the back wings will be torn off and replaced with the 4th phase of shelby.

Here is a link to what the 3rd phase will look like when it is completed.
http://www.dadot.com/project/under_construction_0/science_and_engineering_complex_0.aspx

I used to know where a link was to the overall plan for the completed Shelby Complex but I can't remember where that was. I do know that they plan to be completely finished with it by 2014.

ttownfeen
Apr 8, 2011, 3:46 AM
Yeah, I think Phase IV is the last phase. That should move all the people in the old crumbling buildings into Shelby. After that, I guess energy will be directed towards renovating some buildings that need some dire attention - like Houser and Hardaway.

I believe this is the plan you were looking for, bamastu.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v133/feenotype/Misc%20UA%20photos/bilde-1.jpg

bamastu13
Apr 9, 2011, 1:08 AM
Yeah, I think the Biology building could really use a good updating. It's always exciting when the trustees meet and release their new plans!