Birmingham faces many obstacles in order to attract new business

Birmingham faces many obstacles in order to attract new business

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Source: WBRC file video Source: WBRC file video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The Airbus announcement is a major economic plus for Mobile but what about efforts to land major projects for Birmingham and the surrounding areas? You look at Jefferson County and the first obstacle many mention is the county's bankruptcy.

"We are limited. We are in bankruptcy. Until we emerge out of bankruptcy that is going to be some what of a hindrance." Tony Petelos, Jefferson County Manager, said.

The civil rights strife of the past also continues to haunt Birmingham when it comes to luring new businesses to relocate here.

"Next year the 50th anniversary of 1963, gives us a chance to clear the air and show the progress that has been made and the fact the business community is united," J. Howard Finch, Dean of the Samford University Brock School of Business, said.

The state of Alabama has had to intervene in the Birmingham school system to address financial issues. This is another negative image for a school system that has been underfire. Still many believe Birmingham and the county can overcome these problems.

"No question. You have to get someone here to see what this area is like. What this region is like," Dave Rickey with the Birmingham Business Alliance said.

"Jefferson county is open for business and will continue to be open for business and when we come out of bankruptcy we will build Jefferson County be a county we can be proud of," Petelos said.

"For one thing we have experienced a lot of negative publicity with the immigration case. The fact we now landed a major shows that obstacles can be overcome," Finch said.

The Birmingham area was barred from competing for Mercedes because of an air quality issue. The area has made strides to meet air quality standards for the future.

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