Group rallies for Bessemer Courthouse

Dozens of Bessemer residents, business owners and city leaders gathered Tuesday to rally in front of the Bessemer Justice Building. The group, organized by Sylvia Blackerby, called "Saving Bessemer" hopes the effort will encourage Jefferson County Commissioners to keep the courthouse in its current location.

Recently the Commission voted to reject its lease with the building authority. County Manager Tony Petelos says the county can't afford the $8.3 million annual lease and is considering other alternatives, including moving into the empty Mall at Westlake.

Blackerby says moving the building would mean the end for downtown Bessemer by adversely affecting business and serving as an inconvenience to its people. Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley and Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens also attended the rally.