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Still dreaming Birmingham? Time to do.

01.13.2011 by André Natta · → 2 Comments

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Birmingham 360 degrees. E. Bruchac/FlickrIt is something that has become a mantra for me in these early days of 2011.

“It’s time to stop just thinking and do.”

The simple sentence echoes around in my head – a space that has felt quite cavernous until recently due to setting goals for the future.

This evening I’ll join more than 500 people over at Old Car Heaven starting at 4:30 p.m. as The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham announces the NEXT BIG THING for The Magic City (by the way, you’re invited so come out if you can).

There have been great things going on throughout the region in the months since Rebecca Ryan delivered a memorable keynote at the Community Foundation’s annual meeting. I shared this post on the organization’s Imagine blog the day of the speech.

A lot has happened. True, there’s been the success of Railroad Park and the Birmingham Business Alliance‘s unveiling of their Blueprint Birmingham strategic plan has led to many important conversations to be restarted.

It’s important to remind folks of some others things happening that may be just under the radar screen so to speak…

There are mounds of dirt moving on the city’s west side as work continues on a revamped centerpiece of the city’s Five Points West community, one that has felt long neglected despite being one of the city’s most populous regions.

There are families benefiting from the development of residential options in Woodlawn and buzz for a new downtown field of dreams to house our beloved Barons.

There are residents in communities like Norwood who are willing to lift their voices so that people know what they want and have no reason to assume while looking forward to the ability of having an entertainment district within walking distance in the next two years.

There’s a connection to a road that brings Birmingham ever closer to Memphis (and the western edge of Jefferson County) that teases those driving along I-65 every day watching its progress.

Tonight we gather to see if what the Community Foundation will announce as their next great project. If nothing else, attending this evening’s event will be an opportunity to celebrate all that has been accomplished, both big and small, and to answer the call represented by former UAB president Volker’s quote,

“We would do Birmingham a great disservice if we dreamed too-little dreams.”

Whatever it is, it will be part of a larger dialogue that needs to take place in Birmingham about where we’re going. The big difference is that instead of dwelling on what isn’t happening, we’ll be wondering what else should be happening.

There are several projects I think are worthy of being undertaken – whether it’s making sure that the Powell School building is preserved and maintained for a civic purpose or figuring out a way to expand and ensure the continued presence of the Birmingham Public Library. While I doubt that these are among the ones considered for today’s announcement, perhaps after the dust settles, people will see that much more is possible than they’ve ever imagined. They may just step up and get it done.

I know that as the incoming president of the Birmingham Jaycees, that organization will be doing their part to take on part of the challenge of doing.

How about you Birmingham?

It’s more than a year later – how big are the dreams you’re dreaming for Birmingham (and what are you willing to do to make them a reality)? What are you willing to do to help shape the city’s story.

André Natta is the stationmaster for

Photo: Birmingham 360 degrees. E. Bruchac/Flickr

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I like this fish-eye view of Birmingham...great picture!

Emily Jones Rushing
Emily Jones Rushing

Keep dreaming and join us with your great idea for a downtown Bham site. Find us at Prize2theFuture and at the Community Foundation, where we are listening in a new way in this idea competition. And, yes, we will DO something to, bringing the winning idea to reality.