Tag Archives: list

Birmingham made its fourth Livability top 10 list. This time, it’s for downtown

downtownbhamfromredmtnThe word’s been spreading like wildfire all afternoon – Birmingham, AL was included (as number 10) on Livability.com’s list of the top 10 best downtown areas for 2014. Fort Worth, Texas topped the list, that also included cities like Providence, RI, and the other #bham, Bellingham, WA.

A statement shared via email by Birmingham Business Alliance president Brian Hilson expressed excitement about the significance of the latest recognition by outside media outlets:

“This is fantastic news, not only for the City of Birmingham, but for the entire Birmingham region,” said Hilson. “Downtowns, especially active ones like ours in Birmingham, help project a positive community image. Downtowns serve as a signature place for the community they are part of. They contain history, and they represent current and future economic vitality. In most metropolitan areas the downtown is the economic hub of the region, and that’s definitely true in Birmingham because of the concentration of employment, as well as the livability features downtown Birmingham offers. It is exciting to see downtown Birmingham receive this much-deserved recognition. We’ll use this positive news to promote further investment in Birmingham.”

The announcement adds to an ever-growing collection of top 10-type lists on which Alabama’s Magic City has been a part – including previous lists published by Livability.com. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the website, launched in late 2009 and published by Franklin, TN-based Journal Communications, strives to be a resource about “America’s best places” and “what makes cities truly livable” (according to their fan page on Facebook) while chronicling more than 500 cities across the country.

The city has been previously recognized as having one of the top 10 libraries for children (#9, 2012); one of the top 10 spring break destinations for families (#6, 2013); and a top 10 place to retire (#8, 2013).

Another one gets (forced) off the BJCTA bus

07172006-max-bus-close-upThe announcement that Peter Behrman will be leaving the BJCTA at the end of March was still a surprise to some despite the insane number of recent closed door meetings.

More disturbing is the number of people who’ve held the position. The transit authority has had 25 directors in 25 years.

We decided to take a quick look at the list of individuals who’ve served since 1994 – all nine of them. Why? Because the official National Transit Database website helped make it easy to do so…

The list is a pretty impressive one when you look at where some of them have ended up. Mr. Copling is currently a general manager for First Transit in Washington, DC, the folks responsible for the DC Circulator. Mark Stanley – he just became the executive officer for the Watershed Conservation Authority in California; he’d been serving as the director of planning for the Riverside Transit Authority since 2006. David Hill still serves as the deputy director for transit services for San Fransicso’s Muni system – a position he returned to after serving as that organization’s acting director of transit for just a little more than five months beginning in October 2009. If you want to visit Paul Ballard, just head up the road to Nashville. He’s been RTA’s CEO since January 2002. Looks like they like him a lot too.

Incidentally, you can also read one of Jerry Haight’s short stories about his days as BJCTA general manager on his website or check out Jay Saxon’s thesis (or maybe even this entire day of programming about transit) examining why he believes the system isn’t functioning to its full potential. There are also fleeting references to Alfred Richards and Frank Martin online if you dig deep enough (including how the authority benefited from the 1982 beer tax).

Travelogue: Lou’s Pub makes Esquire’s list of best bars

Lou's Pub & Package Store logoReaders of the current edition of Esquire Magazine may have recognized the name of a local watering hole included in a very prestigious list of bars. Lou’s Pub not only made the latest installment of the magazine’s list of “The Best Bars in America” (PDF) it did so as the only representative from the state of Alabama.

It’s the second time that the bar has been included on the list – the first being in 2007 (when mental_floss‘ Neely Harris (formerly of mental_flossnow of ESPN The Magazinewrote this piece for the magazine). It’s one of several bars that can claim that designation in Birmingham over the last few years – a list that includes Rojo, The Garage, The Bottletree, and Highlands Bar & Grill.

The full list is also available as well as an interactive map including bars previously on the list on the magazine’s website.

Knowledge abundant in The Magic City

Birmingham was recently included in a Forbes Magazine list of the nation’s biggest brain magnets – it’s on the list at number six.

While that result shocked some (maybe some of the same folks still in shock about UAB’s NCAA tournament selection) visitors to BhamWiki really weren’t. The volunteer-built virtual archive of the city’s history (whose creator John Morse is still an occasional contributor to this site) is celebrating its fifth anniversary today.

mental floss logoAnother reason to not necessarily doubt the ranking is the success of mental_floss magazine. Yesterday’s announcement of its sale to magazine publisher Felix Dennis was the first time many learned (or realized) that the magazine is based in The Magic City (their offices are on Southside) or that one of the founders, Will Pearson, is from Hoover.

Neither one of these fine establishments are going anywhere anytime soon, but that’s no reason to not go ahead and check them out.

Good People is Good Beer… according to GOOD Magazine

Map of GOOD Beer. Courtesy of GOOD MagazineGood People Brewing Company (GPB) was recently recognized as Alabama’s representative in GOOD Magazine’s list of the most popular microbrews in the United States.

The United States of GOOD Beer highlighted the best microbrew option in each of the 50 states. Every state was represented – except for Idaho.

GPB also celebrated a joyous moment last week Friday. Folks visiting  some area groceries and restaurants in Birmingham and Huntsville were finally able to enjoy the Birmingham-based microbrewery’s Brown and IPA in cans.

One of the cool things about the availability of the six-packs available is the 6-pack holders they’re being distributed with. They’re developed by PakTech, a company out of Oregon that was interviewed back in August by CraftCans.com about the design of the holders.

The holders are made of HDPE, a #2 plastic that is accepted at the Alabama Environmental Center‘s recycling station downtown.

Infographic: courtesy of GOOD Magazine.

Vote for America’s Favorite Farmers Market

marketlogoThe American Farmland Trust is conducting the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest and the Pepper Place Farmers Market is on the list to consider from Alabama. They’re inviting folks to “Let the world know you love your local farmers market” by voting. If you want to add any of the other farmers markets in the metro Birmingham area (or the state of Alabama) we think they wouldn’t mind. Plus, you help others know just how many options we’ve got around here too…

No sales tax holiday from JeffCo this year

This morning the Jefferson County Commission voted 3-1 to opt out of this year’s back to school sales tax holiday, scheduled for August 7-9 (Commissioner Carns was not present for the vote). The commission says that the move would save the county approximately $200,000 and at least seven jobs. The Birmingham News posted a list of cities that will participate in this year’s holiday on Monday; Birmingham has announced that it will be participating this year. The repeal will only affect the collection of the state’s 2% worth of taxes, including the 1% educational tax.

It is interesting to note that yesterday was the deadline to notify whether or not cities or counties in the state would participate. You may also want to check out the list on the state department of revenue website to find out just what items are tax exempt during the holiday.