CITY OF BESSEMER, ALABAMA
Economic Development, Government
Officials with the city of Bessemer and the Bessemer Airport Authority broke ground Tuesday morning on construction of a 14,220 square foot hangar project at the Bessemer Municipal Airport.

The $750,000 project is being funded by the combination of a grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and a loan from Cadence Bank. Garver Inc. is providing project management and design, while Wayne Davis Construction will serve as the general contractor.

The project will include 10 individual T-hangars with large opening doors to accommodate Cirrus aircraft. Construction of the hangers is expected to be completed by December, said Tim Wasyluka, Airport manager.

City officials hailed the groundbreaking as another milestone in the city’s economic development efforts. The Bessemer Municipal Airport is a public-use airport and is categorized as a reliever airport for the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Several companies and private jets currently lease or own hangars at the airport.

Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley said the airport is becoming an important piece of the city’s industry recruitment efforts. In past years, city and airport officials have been able to market the airport and its location in the region to prospective companies such as Steyr Arms USA.

The hangar project will only aid those efforts, city officials said.

“We want the airport to grow and this is the first step in growing it,” said Bessemer councilwoman Donna Thigpen, who represents the city on the authority’s board.

Construction of the hangars is the latest in a series of recent upgrades at the facility. In June, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the Bessemer Airport is in line to receive $2,277,393 to rehabilitate the airport’s runway and runway lighting.

Last fall, Birmingham-based Sanders Capital Partners announced that it had acquired three corporate hangars at the Bessemer Airport for $1.3 million. Jackson Stewart, general counsel for Sanders Capital Partners, said at the time that Bessemer is playing an “increasingly significant” role in the aviation mix in the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa markets.

Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens, a pilot himself, said much of the major work at the airport was done prior to national events such as 9/11 and the Great Recession. Those events slowed progress at the airport. Stephens said he hopes the city, county and state can continue working together to grow the airport.

“It’s taken us a long time to kickstart this economic engine for Bessemer and western Jefferson County,” Stephens said.
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Arts & Entertainment, Upcoming Event
The city of Bessemer and the Bessemer Area Chamber of Commerce will host an Independence Day Celebration in the city on Thursday, July 4, 2019.

The celebration will take place at Bessemer City High School, 4950 Premiere Parkway. Festivities will start at 6:30 p.m. and last until 9 p.m., with the annual fireworks show scheduled for approximately 8:45 p.m. Pyro Shows of Alabama will conduct the fireworks show.

The celebration will include music by DJ Mac Taylor 98.7 KISS FM. There will be free ice cream, watermelon, nachos and beverages. The Chamber of Commerce will sponsor free giveaways.
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Uncategorized
There will be two free Jazz in the Park concerts in the city of Bessemer this month.

The first concert is scheduled for Sunday, June 23, 2019 at DeBardeleben Park, 1623 Second Avenue North. The concert is sponsored by the city of Bessemer and will start at 6 p.m. Scheduled performers will be Pedro Moore and Buff Dillard.

The second concert is slated for Sunday, June 30, 2019 at the Bessemer Recreation Center, 100 14th Street South. The concert is presented by Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson and will start at 6 p.m. Scheduled performers include Kenya.

Jazz in the Park, organized by Magic City Smooth Jazz, is in its 10th year of hosting free concerts in the state of Alabama.

Since its inception in 2008, Magic City Smooth Jazz has presented over 125 FREE concerts to the public while presenting over 300 emerging and established artists while impacting the lives of over 20,000 adults and children.
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Arts & Entertainment, City Life
More than 5,000 people converged on Historic Downtown Bessemer on June 1, 2019 to take part in the 2019 Caribbean Food and Music Festival at DeBardeleben park.

The festival, organized each year by the Central Alabama Caribbean American Organization, was held for the first time this year in Bessemer.

The organization had held the event in downtown Birmingham the previous seven years of its existence.

The festival featured Caribbean-themed music , dancing and food as more than 45 vendors packed DeBardeleben Park. A parade was held earlier in the day. Sponsors for the event included Alabama Power, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama, iBeria Bank, McDonald’s, 98.7 Kiss FM, Roxxy Rocks and the city of Bessemer. Admission to the festival was free.

Festival organizers said they enjoyed sharing Caribbean culture with the residents of Bessemer and surrounding communities.

Mayor Kenneth Gulley greeted the crowd and thanked the organization, as well as city staff, for working diligently to make the festival a success in Bessemer. Gulley said the organization approached the city a little over two months ago to host the event in Bessemer after the organization determined the cost of hosting the event in Birmingham would be too great.

“What an awesome crowd and what an awesome day to have a Caribbean Festival in the city of Bessemer,” Gulley said. “The beauty of this is we put this together in less than two months.”

Festival-goers said they enjoyed the shade provided by the tree canopy at DeBardeleben Park and the myriad of activities associated with the festival. In addition to numerous food vendors serving everything from Jamaican to Cuban dishes, there was line dancing, salsa performances and a performance by the Revolution Reggae Band.

Visitors came from as far away as Ohio and California to partake in the festivities. Also on hand were Artra Armbrister-Rolle, Counsul General for the Bahamas Consulate in Atlanta and officials from the U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism Office.

Pauline Ford-Caesar, festival organizer, said the organization plans to bring the festival back to Bessemer on June 13, 2020 and is already making plans to do so.
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Arts & Entertainment, City Life, Upcoming Event

Vendors along Second Avenue North in Historic Downtown Bessemer are preparing for a day of fun in the sun with an Old School Summer Block Party scheduled for Saturday, June 8.

The festivities will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and last until 8 p.m. The event will be sponsored by The Paisley Pig, LLC. The event will feature food trucks and street vendors. There will also be storewide specials at the Paisley Pig and at United Textiles.  Admission is free to the event.

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