75
      Thursday
      92 / 70
      Friday
      89 / 68
      Saturday
      90 / 70

      Birmingham Mayor confident in DNC pitch, admits hurdles

      {}Birmingham Mayor William Bell is more confident than ever in the city's chances of landing the 2016 Democratic National Convention. But, in an interview with ABC 33/40 Wednesday, Bell said it's a matter of proving the city can handle the large-scale event. Some critics argue other cities vying for the convention have more viable transportation and venue options."We still have a lot of heavy competition in terms of Philadelphia and New York. We lack in some areas that is of interest to the DNC, such as having enough space out at the airport for private planes to come in," Bell said. "We're studying that particular issue. We can build the hotels. We have enough time to build hotels that are necessary."In previous interviews, Bell has said it would take some $30 million in public and private partnerships to bring the convention to Birmingham. The host city would also receive about $49 million in a federal security grant, Bell added. Just last week, the City Council approved to spend $275,000 on consultants to market the city."We have to make sure we explain our situation clearly and promptly to the DNC, and hopefully, we will get it," Bell said.Four council members and four city staffers will travel this week to Atlanta for the DNC Summer Meeting, which associated travel expenses come to nearly $5,000 in city funds. Bell said the main goal for the trip is to garner support within the Southern region. City leaders have also pledged $5 million in public money, if the city wins the bid.Bell also addressed some public concern Wednesday regarding the number of trips and resources dedicated to the effort."If we don't spend it then we certainly won't have a shot," Bell said. "Until I find out something differently, then we are going to continue to pursue and do everything we need to do."The DNC is expected to name the host city at the end of the year or early 2015.To see how the City of Birmingham will upgrade the BJCC for the Convention:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqBV0vj0He4#t=67

      Stay with ABC 33/40 for more on this developing story.

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