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No excuses – time to make your voice heard!

11.28.2011 by André Natta · → Leave a comment

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Birmingham Comp Plan logo.This evening (Monday, November 28) there will no doubt be those wondering if they should attend the first of three final chances to share their thoughts about the future of the city of Birmingham, at least in terms of the current efforts for the its first Comprehensive Plan study since 1961.

Considering some of the conversations I got to be a part of this holiday weekend, people definitely have an opinion (well, after they share their thoughts on college football in the state and the immigration bill).

The Area 4 meeting is scheduled to take place at Carver High School (3900 24th Street, North) from 5:30-7:30 PM and focus primarily on portions of the city located on its Northside. There are two more meetings scheduled for this week – Area 5 (Southside) will take place tomorrow (Tuesday, November 29) at Glen Iris Elementary School; Area 6 (think Highway 280) will take place on Thursday, December 1, at the Cahaba Pumping Station Museum (a.k.a. the Pump House). Both of those meetings are also scheduled to  go from 5:30-7:30 PM.

There’s additional information available via a flier that’s been made available on the official website for the comprehensive plan process.

Let’s address some of those reasons that could potentially pop into your head to keep you from attending, shall we?

But [insert name of local meteorologist here] says it’s going to snow tonight!?! Yes, that’s true, the National Weather Service is calling for snowfall this evening. The winter weather advisory currently announced for Jefferson County doesn’t even go into effect until 12 AM though – well after the meeting is scheduled to be finished.

It doesn’t matter what we say, it’ll never happen. If you don’t go and your ideas aren’t shared, of course it’ll never happen, since it may never be considered. The notion behind the process, whether or not it’s been easy to actually know when or where the meetings are, is to engage as many people as possible

Didn’t they already do a big session at the CrossPlex? They did. The purpose of that public meeting was to establish a starting point for what the citizens in the city wanted to see from the planning process – a vision statement that will help guide the plan.

I didn’t know there were more meetings taking place. You may not have. It’s not necessarily as sexy as reporting about the Iron Bowl, the ongoing issues surrounding the stalled UAB football stadium project or anything else that seems more exciting. That said, perhaps a better job could have been undertaken by City Hall to help spread the word about the meetings. Hopefully any future opportunities for public input into the Comp Plan will receive that support and exposure from the City. You know now though, and you’ve got two more chances (tomorrow and Thursday) to show up and have your voice heard.

The area being focused on isn’t where I live. The future of the city of Birmingham is dependent on what’s happening everywhere, not just what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

There are no doubt countless more reasons that could and will be given in the coming days, but I figured I’d stop while I was ahead.

Children amaze me. acnatta/FlickrOne of the highlights of the visioning session held last month was the enthusiasm of the children who attended. They decided to make sure their voices were heard just as clearly as the rest of the nearly 250 people gathered in attendance. The idea of remembering that we’re simply borrowing the city from them for a short period of time is a notion that should be enough to get you up and out the door this evening (or perhaps making a side trip to avoid the beginning of the holiday shopping effect on rush hour traffic in the region).

I plan on attending a meeting either tonight (Monday), or Tuesday, or both. I’m hoping that many of you will consider making it part of your plans this week as well. If you can’t attend either of these meetings, hopefully other opportunities to make sure your voice is heard, either via the website or at additional public meetings, will be made known to you in the immediate future.

There’s no time for excuses anymore, only the beginning of a solution.

André Natta is The Terminal’s stationmaster as well as a member of the City of Birmingham Comprehensive Plan’s steering committee.

Photo: Children amaze me. acnatta/Flickr

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