Category Archives: 35205

Glen Iris Neighborhood endorses plans for skatepark in George Ward Park

07012013JulyskateparkmtgThis month the Glen Iris Neighborhood Association drew its highest attendance ever for a single meeting. Monday, July 1, saw nearly 100 people gathered at St. Elias Maronite Church to hear what residents had to say about a potential skate park at George Ward Park. The neighborhood association had tabled discussion about the project at their May meeting until further research could be investigated.

The meeting started 20 minutes late and initially focused on the regular business of the neighborhood. Cris Worley from the A.Skate Foundation was introduced, after which association vice president Michael Gray explained that audience members’ comments would be limited to two minutes. Worley was then given the floor and she addressed misinformation recently circulated around the neighborhood, the A.Skate Foundation and its programs, and how skateboarding is neurologically beneficial to autistic children.

Peter Karvonen, owner of Faith Skate Supply, talked about the 3,500 skateparks that have been constructed throughout the country the past six years. He also related the history of the old Vestavia Hills skatepark. A third speaker, criminologist Christy Ivy, addressed the concerns from a crime and constructive policy angle.

All three speakers defended skaters from the stereotypes most recently perpetuated by a flyer circulating around the city, addressing such things as potential noise issues, the look of the park, and those perceiving skateboarders as “thugs on drugs.”

The majority of speakers from the audience were overwhelmingly supportive of the skatepark. A few naysayers voiced their opinions as well. To everyone’s credit, the discussion remained civil and engaging.

Many Glen Iris residents spoke of appreciating the diversity in the neighborhood. Others explained how, although they were not interested in skateboarding, it should not stop others from enjoying the activity. A local architect urged his fellow residents to stop the “what if” debates and work on Birmingham being “first” with something rather than always last. A 40-year resident of the neighborhood reminded people of how disconnected to reality it seems when they approve land for use by dogs but are considering refusing it to a use by people.

After the discussion, a motion was made to approve the skatepark at the triangular site in the northwest corner of the park. Glen Iris residents were asked to stand and raise their right hand to vote in favor of the skatepark. The motion passed 52 – 9 (with one abstention), thus clearing a major hurdle for the skatepark plans to move forward.

Additional items discussed at the meeting:

  • City councilor Valerie Abbott reminded everyone about a meeting in Jasper called by the Black Warrior Riverkeeper on July 9 to discuss strip mining along the river. (Those opposed to the mining but unable to attend the Jasper meeting can contact the Alabama Surface Mining Commission in Montgomery).
  • UAB is instituting a campus public transit system where students and employees can ride for free.


Curbside ordering at Five Points South Chick-Fil-A to be investigated

06122013ChickFilAcurbsideCurbside ordering has been an option  for customers visiting the Five Points South Chick-Fil-A on Birmingham’s Southside since June 3 (it was announced on the fan page they have on Facebook on May 27). The service is a flash point of conversation, though it is still available, as this photo was taken shortly before 12 p.m. shows. A sign posted in the parking lot state It is an option weekdays between 6 a.m. – 2:55 p.m.

While the service is new to the Five Points South location, it’s not so new to the company. A similar service has been offered at their Indian River Mall location in Vero Beach, FL  for more than two years. Customers “drive-up” to designated parking spots and call in their orders; those visiting the Five Points South location pull up to a tent in the parking lot and place an order with an attendant and then proceed to an assigned spot.

It is seen by many as a workaround of one of the restrictions placed on the fast food restaurant by the city’s Design Review Committee in when the location’s site plan was approved in August 2010 – one that left some wondering if the committee would take action once it learned of it.

The committee voted today to turn the issue over to the city’s planning department (specifically the director of urban planning) to investigate specific violations of the site plan after local attorney Alton Parker addressed them and asked for action to be taken. The item was added to the agenda shortly after today’s regularly scheduled meeting started. The committee went into executive session after completing the agenda to discuss next steps.

The chain, known for having the nation’s best drive-through service, has faced opposition in recent months throughout the country as they attempt to continue an aggressive expansion plan, particularly in California. Mountain View’s city council voted 4-2 last October to deny a site plan calling for a drive-through at a congested portion of El Camino Real. The Atlanta, GA-based company appealed the Santa Rosa planning commission’s decision to that municipality’s city council last May in order to get permission to construct a 4,400 square foot location with a drive-through. Even when they’ve been successful with securing one, as in Santa Barbara earlier this year, it hasn’t always gone off without a hitch.

The Southside location opened in 2011 – several months after Chick-Fil-A debuted its new “in-line” variation in Chicago. The Windy City’s second drive-thru absent location is opening in the Loop on June 20.

NOTE: Don’t forget to check out a full recap of today’s Design Review Committee meeting on Thursday.

Bogue’s moves into new fire station location on Clairmont

part of Bogue's new interiorFolks driving along Clairmont Avenue near 32nd St. South this Saturday may have noticed some cars sitting in the parking lot adjacent to the renovated Fire Station No. 22.

Bogue’s was getting a chance to kick the tires on their new space in the building – its front door marked by an orange awning – and are continuing to do so today. They are not as of yet able to accept credit cards (read: cash only), but if you’re in the mood to see what the new space is like before everyone starts to swarm on the building, you may still have some time. The most notable of the new features for the space is the patio that looks out onto 32nd St. and the site of the first ever Alabama vs. Auburn football game (it’s important to note there’s currently no furniture on the patio).

Workers were almost finished putting the fence up around the old location (first inhabited by the restaurant in 1946) as we left this morning, suggesting that demolition of that structure is imminent to allow for construction of a new Walgreens location seen as the centerpiece of this redevelopment project.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll see some of the perks of the new Walgreens flagship store up in Chicago that opened last month when it opens this summer…

We’re at Do Dah Day 2008!

Caldwell Park - Do Dah Day 2008 - Andre Natta/Flickr

Andre Natta/

Here’s the view from our spot at Do Dah Day in Caldwell Park. If you haven’t left the house just yet, you still have time to find us today sharing some tent space with Black & White and ArtWalk. We’re next to those guys from Fox 6 next to the stage. Stop on by and say hi…

Fire + Ice joins Birmingham’s restaurant scene

The scene inside Fire + Ice on March 22, 2008 during a special invitation only sneak peek.

Bob Farley/f8photo

Those that visit Five Points South may notice a new occupant in the space that formerly housed a Gap and Seaside, FL based-Quincy Art Shop.

Fire + Ice Improvisational Grill officially opened yesterday afternoon after inviting some folks to try out their newest location (and first in the Southeastern U.S.) on Saturday evening. Additional locations are planned for Dubai and Panama later this year.

Guests were treated to a sneak peek event of what the restaurant has to offer. We could write about the place, the lively atmosphere and the food, but we figured why not just share some images taken by Bob Farley at the event.

We also wouldn’t mind a comment or two from folks that have already tried it out to let us know what you think…

Do Dah Day, Caldwell + Rhodes Parks

Do Dah Day celebrates 29 years of fun and good causes on May 17. The annual festival, which has raised more than $500,000 since 1992 for Jefferson County animal shelters is one of the city’s most cherished springtime events. Festivities include the annual parade (it starts at 11:01 a.m.) as well as music and fun in Caldwell & Rhodes Parks in Birmingham’s Highland Park neighborhood. They can always use more volunteers for the event as well. Don’t forget about the crowning of the Do Dah Day king and queen on the 16th at Do Dah Eve!

Cost: $0

Caldwell & Rhodes Park
Map showing location of parks in relation to start of parade – Google Maps

The Syncopated Clock, Alys Stephens Center

This performance by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra is part of their Red Diamond Family Concert series, part of their 10th anniversary celebration.

Christopher Confessore will lead the symphony in a celebration of the music of American composer Leroy Anderson. The performance will include some of his most popular pieces – The Syncopated Clock, The Typewriter and Classical Juke Box.

Pre-concert festivities will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Cost: $14/adults; $7/children – purchase tickets here

Alys Stephens Center – Jemison Hall
1200 10th Avenue South (directions)