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Bull(ish) . . . . . about Birmingham

29 March 2008

I’m bullish about Birmingham…  and I’m not shy about letting anyone know.

recent article in the Birmingam Weekly reminded me once again about my outlook.  No, I’m not talking about the witty (Kyle) Whitmire who writes regular social commentary about Birmingham.  Instead, I’m talking about my favorite writer at the Weekly… Mark Kelly, the thoughtful writer who periodically takes breaks from advising political clients or writing his books and then contributes great articles to the Weekly.

This time it’s the first of what should be bi-monthly roundtables with community leaders.  Mark told me that he had a court reporter in the room when he gathered five opiniated people together to have a candid conversation about our community.  I was excited to read some very frank, yet civil, comments in the article. In case you missed it…

Read Conversations on the present & future of Birmingham today!!!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. James permalink
    10 April 2008 9:11 pm

    Let’s see, county teetering on bankruptcy, businesses leaving, mayor that couldn’t find his…nevermind.

    That said, I’ll agree with you – it’s safe to be bullish on Birmingham. The path can only be up from here 🙂

    Biggest problem I see there is no investment in the things that will actually pull the city forward, but that’s comes from the fact that there are better places to put your money if you are an investor, and there is relatively very little money in Birmingham anyway. The Dome is certainly not one of those investments.

    Oh well, easy to be a critic – I’m sure someone will figure it out.

    Flame away!

  2. 23 June 2008 2:32 pm

    The recurring observation about Birmingham is that people are leaving because there are better or cheaper conditions just outside the city limits.

    So you’ve got to improve conditions inside the city limits if you want new residents and businesses to move into Birmingham itself.

    I’d suggest starting with the low hanging fruit, first. Combine dorm renovations/construction at UAB with requirements for Freshmen and scholarship recipients to live on campus (coincidentally, inside the city limits). Build new dorms on campus, but as close to existing night life districts (e.g. 5 Points, Lakeview, etc.) as is reasonable.

    Got a vacant building near UAB or a night life district? Then convert it to a youth hostel…with ultra-cheap daily bed rental rates for a desired demographic (e.g. 18 to 29 year olds).

    Connect night life districts like Lakeview to 5 Points South with a dedicated party bus system.

    Low hanging fruit. People will come into town for night life, and that brings in money to local businesses who then hire new employees…and jobs bring in new residents.

    Of course, that still leaves major issues untackled (though kudos need to go to new Police Chief Roper for his efforts to date), such as Birmingham’s ridiculous neighborhood association system (99 different neighborhood groups with near-veto power over developments not just in their residential neighborhoods, but also in nearby **commercial** business zones).

    Vacant commerical and residential buildings should be taxed at vastly higher rates, too…in order to encourage people to sell or use their property rather than let it sit idle.

    More ideas are here: http://www.u-drift.com/TheNewBirminghamPrimer.html

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