Tag Archives: 35203

Help Sojourns continue its journey

Sojourns GoFund screenshotMelissa Kendrick and her store, Sojourns, need Birmingham’s help. Long before cups of coffee were being poured at Urban Standard or folks were sitting down to a cold one at all of the trendy bars gracing downtown Birmingham, she took a chance in 2005 and opened what is arguably one of the first businesses to be truly part of the city center’s revival.

According to the GoFundMe campaign set up by Max Blalock on Tuesday afternoon, a sewer line at her house collapse that is not covered by her homeowners insurance policy is placing Kendrick in a financial bind. While a status update on Facebook let us know she’s secured a part-time job, perhaps sharing the link to the page and seeing just how close she might be able to get to the goal would help too.

Incidentally, she’s also going to need some volunteers for an upcoming fashion show benefiting the Rape Response program at the Crisis Center…

Some want officials to Rethink 20/59

ULI2059proposalA meeting on Thursday evening of area residents gathered for an event entitled “Save Birmingham from ALDOT’s plan for I-20/59 downtown” has launched an online effort to raise awareness about the current proposals being considered.

The group, calling themselves Rethink 20/59, has created a fan page on Facebook. They have also posted a link to a petition via Change.org directed at Birmingham mayor William Bell, the Birmingham City Council, the Jefferson County Commission and Alabama governor Robert Bentley asking them to “rethink the plan for Interstate 20/59” through the city center. The city and county had asked ALDOT last July to reconsider its initial plan to simply re-deck the existing section, leading to the current proposal. The council already stated during their June 18 general business meeting that they intended to meet with ALDOT’s director when he is in town next week.

A second petition launched on June 19 on Causes.com and created by Stuart Oates entitled Save Downtown Birmingham. It currently has 22 virtual signatures.

This latest development among those speaking out against plans to replace the decking between 31st St. N. and Malfunction Junction and redirecting local traffic patterns is not without precedent in the country. While efforts are underway in Dallas, TX to influence the removal of Interstate 345, the campaign most closely resembling Birmingham’s in the southeastern United States is in Louisville, KY, where 8664 is using Facebook in its fight to remove the Interstate and reconnect a waterfront park to the city’s downtown area. There is also a continuing effort in Syracuse, NY to look at alternatives to widening a stretch of I-81 through the heart of downtown (and coming extremely close to existing buildings in the process).

Photo:  2009 Rendering from ONB Breakfast Briefing presentation.

Time to meet about I-20/59 again


If you were upset you missed the public meeting held last July about the proposed changes to the portion of I-20/59 running through downtown Birmingham, you’re in luck. ALDOT will be holding another public involvement meeting next Thursday, March 28, in Boutwell Auditorium‘s exhibition hall. The open house will take place from 4 – 7 p.m., with a public comment period occurring from  5 – 6 p.m.

Based on the flyer being distributed through neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the well-traveled stretch of asphalt, the purpose of the meeting is to go over plans for replacing the elevated section of I-20/59 between the 31st St. N. and I-65 interchanges. It also states they will also be talking about modifications to both of those interchanges in addition to an “11th Avenue Corridor Reconstruction from I-65 to I-59/20.”

Those who’ve driven over to take a look at the new Westin hotel and Uptown entertainment district in recent days have probably noticed an increased presence by crews conducting soil testings (as reported on al.com on March 17). There may also be discussion about the effects of an expanded scope of project and whether any property will need to be acquired in order to carry it out.


New name. Still teaching. Still growing.

JVTF "entrance" from 7th Ave. N.Jones Valley Urban Farm was re-introduced late last week to members of its email list and visitors to its website as Jones Valley Teaching Farm.

The new name also introduces a new logo to the community – the second such change in recent years for the nationally-acclaimed Northside institution. The note from the organization points out something that few would argue:

…while many people know us for our delicious produce, many don’t know that it’s not the primary function of our organization. Since its inception, our mission has been to empower future generations with an education to eat smarter, think healthier—and live better.

They pointed out that the name change didn’t mean they’d be changing what they were already doing, though they did mention a return of the on-site farm stand and the coming fundraising campaign to help fund new efforts focused on education.

Visited the new Birmingham City Council site yet?

Birmingham City Council's new websiteIt’s been a little more than a month since the Birmingham City Council launched its own website – one that was determined to make it easier for residents with digital access to be better informed about what was happening on the third floor of City Hall.

While there is still not a link to the new site from the city’s main website as of this post going live, the new online home for all things involving the City of Birmingham (a product of  CivicPlus) is also introducing us to additional ways to connect with the Council. These include a fan page on Facebook and a Twitter account, CC_Birmingham. There was activity on all of these platforms through April 18, though it seemed to have temporarily stopped since then. They’ve also provided a link to a landing page for video archives of council meetings (ones currently posted are from February).

Time will tell how this resource will be used by the council and the people they represent…

Next steps to save Powell School underway

Powell School debris cleanupFolks driving into downtown Birmingham, AL the morning of February 1 may have noticed a dumpster sitting out in front of the historic Powell School Building along 6th Avenue North. It’s OK if the rain might have kept you from noticing…

It appears that workers from One Stop Environmental have begun to remove debris from the city’s oldest school a little more than a year after a devastating fire did significant damage to it. The property was donated to the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation along with $500,000 back in October. The building had been named to the organization’s 2011 list of Places in Peril in May. The city’s requested that $150,000 be reserved to cover the cost of demolition in the event that a developer is not located that views the project as feasible.

According to the request for proposals retrieved from Operation New Birmingham’s website, submissions were due on January 9. A story published in The Birmingham News during the holidays suggests that the stabilization project is on schedule enabling potential developers to access the property for review in March. It was also reported that work was underway to design a roof to protect the remaining structure from any more damage due to weather.

No more digging for change while visiting the courthouse

Pay and display meter on Park Place in downtown Birmingham.If the Jefferson County satellite courthouses don’t reopen in the immediate future, odds are when they do they’ll be in different locations.

During a bankruptcy hearing today the Jefferson County Commission was given permission to break the leases on those spaces. The satellite offices have been closed since last April.

As people continue to head downtown to the county courthouse (where long lines may be the norm for some time to come), they may want to be aware of the expansion of the pilot program implemented by the Birmingham Parking Authority last year. During the holidays, additional pay and display meters were installed along the southern edge of Linn Park and in front of the Birmingham Board of Education headquarters.

These join the ones installed directly in front of Birmingham City Hall back in September (as pointed out first by Jeremy Erdreich on his blog Construct Birmingham). They also resemble ones being manufactured and installed throughout our sister city “across the pond.”

The machines take change as well as cash and credit cards. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll have a pay and display on a block near you.