Tag: ‘railroad park’

Curious about where the Trolley goes in Birmingham?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

We were!  After reading a recent post about the trolleys in Lawrenceville, GA providing a tour of historical sites, we wanted to know if we could do the same in Birmingham.  We wanted to know where our trolleys go,  what the schedule is, and how much is it to ride? Does it stop at Railroad Park? How often does it make a route?  And how can we turn this into a benefit for tourists and visitors?

Well, here’s the scoop! It costs 50¢!  And here’s the full schedule! It runs every 10-20 minutes on the three routes below and The Red Line stops at Terminal Station – near Railroad Park.  Currently it travels from the City Center to the Convention Center to Five Points South.  What are the tourism possibilities?  What COULD they be?  Stay tuned!

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Why do I love Birmingham? It’s complicated…

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

I was recently asked to document on video why I love Birmingham (and you can too, by clicking HERE).  The video testimonials will primarily be used to help attract new tech talent to our city which is becoming known for its tech entrepreneurs and innovation.  Scott Pierce,  the creator of the “Why Birmingham” video testimonials,  believes that Birmingham could actually be the next Silicon Valley!

Scott introduced this idea at Ignite Birmingham and his enthusiasm for its potential is contagious!  He got me thinking:   Is it the people, the climate, the award-winning restaurants, the beautiful rolling landscape, the emerging residential life downtown, or the new Railroad Park that provides our unique quality of life?  Is it the beautiful suburbs, the convenience, or the quality medical care and educational benefits provided by UAB?  While these are just a few of the reasons that immediately came to mind, I realized that my relationship with Birmingham is complicated and has evolved over the years.  Yes, all those things mentioned above are compelling,  but it hasn’t always been a love story for me and Birmingham!  And I realized the reason this city has kept me intrigued, interested, and involved  long enough to see the amazing changes occurring now, is analogous to one of my favorite stories, The Little Prince by St. Exupery.

To paraphrase, The Little Prince is asked by the wise old fox why he loves his grumpy old rose which is covered in thorns!  He points out that there are lots of beautiful roses in the world and many of them have a better attitude!  The Little Prince responds that it is special to him because it is HIS rose.  And he tells the fox that his rose needs him to protect it, and defend it, water and nurture it, and most of all to LOVE it above all others despite its thorns and its occasional attitude.

The wise old fox responds that The Little Prince has captured the secret–that you only love the things that you consistently nurture, defend, feed, and water – you only love the things you “tame” and that depend upon your consistent care.

So after 30 years, I guess this is why I love Birmingham!  It’s “tamed” me. Yes, I see its thorns…but I also see its amazing potential.  I always have!  And never more so than now, for all the reasons listed above!

For any detractors out there who can’t yet see what we have right here in Birmingham, my advice is to get involved (and here’s one way with a deadline of March 11th). Find something that you like about our city (if it’s art, some links to get started are HERE).  Write about  something that you want to see happen in Birmingham and nurture it (like this!).  I promise you, just like the rose, thorns and all, this city will take hold of you and never let go!  I believe in Birmingham…

“But my rose, all on her own, is more important than you altogether, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass. Since she’s the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except for two or three for butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”

–from The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery

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Prize 2 the Future – Here we come!

Monday, January 31st, 2011

It’s almost the end of the month, and we’ve been wildly distracted by the “Prize 2 The Future” contest which is soliciting proposals for a key piece of property in our downtown district. Nothing excites us more than an opportunity to facilitate progress in the city that we love! So for the time being, Bob’s paintbrush and our incredible and talented teammates have been devoted to creating a concept that will make something happen, or as it’s being promoted – “The Next Big Thing”! We’ve taken dozens of photographs, brainstormed lots of ideas, and toured not just this area, but the entire downtown, and we’re seeing everything once again through new eyes!  UPDATE:  HERE’S OUR COMPLETED PROJECT!

But it’s not the first time we’ve gotten excited about Birmingham! Bob decided many years ago that Morris Avenue had promise.  So on his own time, he proceeded to create a concept, painted renderings (including those below), created enthusiasm among the merchants and landlords, convinced the city to contribute funds for lighting and paving, and sold the landowners on varied tenants and cooperation. He even created a newspaper to market the area.  And with the help of legislation written by State Legislator Richard Dominick, it became the first historic district in the State of Alabama.  An artist CAN create a lot of buzz!  And although it hasn’t remained the entertainment district that Bob envisioned, the warehouse district complementing the railroad tracks has been preserved to live again!
Morris Avenue Branding   Morris Avenue Conceptual Design   Morris Avenue Interior Concept

Five Points South featured the “Little Bomber” bar on the circle when we moved our offices there in the mid-70’s. But with the help of some conceptual renderings by Bob,  Mayor Richard Arrington along with ONB and the neighborhood association began to once again take an interest in the area. With private investment, we were able to transform the area into an exciting destination, signing a lease with a very young aspiring restauranteur named Frank Stitt.  And we appreciated the support of a talented newly elected councilor named William Bell!

For many years, we’ve thought that Birmingham was making steps toward a progressive future. But we’ve never been as optimistic as we are now. We’re seeing the downtown area make demands for amenities to serve the new loft residents. We’re seeing throngs of people with families and dogs enjoy the new Railroad Park. And we’ve seen entire communities rally via social media to protect their neighborhoods. Birmingham is changing, and changing fast! We believe this time Birmingham really is on the verge of something big! And we want to be a part of it!

We can’t wait to see the concepts that are entered. Every single one will have validity and will contribute to the winning proposal. And all that energy that is being focused on our downtown HAS to be positive. So Bob is painting, and we are so pumped! Because win or lose, we believe in Birmingham, and we believe that this project will bust things WIDE OPEN!

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