Tag Archives: Alabama Power

Steam Plant Plaza receives Design Review Committee approval

Design review Sept. image 2Alabama Power received schematic design approval of its plans for the park and plaza surrounding its Powell Avenue Steam Plant from Birmingham’s Design Review Committee on Wednesday morning, allowing for permits to be secured and work to begin. Nelson Byrd Woltz, a firm with offices in Charlottesville, Virginia and New York City, presented the proposed plans for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham’s former Prize 2 the Future site (a.k.a., Lot D) to the committee, meeting the first time since the cycling accident that claimed the life of committee member and local contractor William Robertson on August 29.

A report on the company’s Alabama Newscenter website (as well as a post to the project’s website) states construction is expected to begin this fall, taking approximately one year to complete. The approval includes streetscape, furniture, and landscaping for the city block located between 18th and 19th Streets along 1st Avenue South.

09092015 Powell Ave DRC Package image

The plaza’s the main entrance, located on the block’s southwest corner, will mimic the Red Mountain Expressway‘s “cut” using limestone and iron ore and matching the berm height of its existing neighbor to the west. Those materials will be used with sandstone to create a seeping fountain. The resulting main plaza could be used as an amphitheater. A scrim fountain will double as a reflecting pool, lining up with the taller of the steam plant’s two smokestacks and serving as the centerpiece of an allée. A water feature will run through a perennial plant garden along the site’s southeastern edge.

The portion of Powell Street passing directly in front of the building, vacated by the city of Birmingham earlier this year, will have bollards installed at its western end. It will still be accessible from 19th Street, providing access to a “food truck grove” and some off-street parking. The plans also call for a small covered pavilion and restrooms. Several sections throughout the site are designated for allowing outdoor dining. A “stack garden” will run along the northern edge of the structure, providing visitors access to a unique, elevated view of the railroad tracks and the surrounding area during business hours.

While a rendering showing an overview of the project site shows a landscaped parking lot along the northern edge of Railroad Park, a representative from the utility stated it was included as conceptual. The site does sit immediately south of the intermodal transit facility currently under construction along Morris Avenue. The plan presented today does call for a reduction of parking along 1st Avenue South – partially to accommodate the allée – though the remaining spaces will remain angled.

Stitt, McCrary, James join Academy of Honor

Three Birmingham area residents are in pretty select company.

Yesterday Alabama Power CEO Charles McCrary, Vulcan Materials CEO Donald James and Birmingham restaurateur Frank Stitt were among five individuals inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor during a ceremony in the old House chamber at the Alabama Capitol.

According to the Associated Press report, “…membership in the academy is limited by law to 100 people whose accomplishments and service have greatly benefited the state.”

The rates went up, the birds are gone

Electric Meter on the Back of the House, MRBECK/FlickrHere’s to hoping that Alabama Power‘s long time spokesbirds, Ben and Mickey, enjoy their permanent trip south for the winter. The state’s Public Service Commission asked that the public utility reduce the amount of advertising they do and focus any new ones on encouraging energy efficiency and conservation. Those will be words that many more APCO customers will embrace as the PSC approved a base connection fee that will raise the average customer bill by $15/month starting in January. That’s after an 8.3% rate increase starting with your next bill raising bills an average of $9.30/month. The good news is that we won’t see another rate increase until 2010.

Photo: Electric Meter on the Back of the House, MRBECK/Flickr