Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council to Sell Old Scott Elementary, Nearby Community Center to Group to Establish a Community Health Center

Donald Payne objected to the sale of the old Scott Elementary School and a neighboring community center during the Birmingham City Council meeting Feb. 14, 2024. He’s among a group of people who have been providing community services at the center, but they were not contacted about the sale. (Facebook livestream)

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday voted to sell the old Scott Elementary School and a neighboring community center to a group planning a health clinic at the property.

The measure passed despite some pushback from community members.

Under the agreement, the city will sell the old school as well as the old North Pratt Community Center, on the corner of Hibernian Street and U.S. 78, to The Movement Inc. for $25,000. The Movement hopes to set up a health clinic and other social services at the facility.

“Our vision for this community health center is to do something new and innovative that’s going to be brilliant and outstanding because the commitment and the investment from this community is what’s going to make it work,” Elaine Colby, a family doctor and member of The Movement, told the council Tuesday.

Several council members were surprised that the deal included the North Pratt center, pointing to its absence on their handouts. Before the vote, council member Carol Clarke said she knows residents currently use the center and asked if accommodations would be made for those people.

Cornell Wesley, director of the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, told Clarke it would be up to the new owners to accommodate current activities. He added that the city did build a new community center in the area that could be available to residents.

City staff said the group currently managing the North Pratt center doesn’t have a direct contract with the city, meaning the city doesn’t see any profits from the activities hosted there. That, coupled with the significant amount of repairs needed at the center, made selling the property a much better deal for the city, they said.

After the council went into executive session over the item, they allowed a representative from the residents currently managing the center to speak.

“I beg to differ from when the young man said it was dilapidated,” said Donald Payne. “He said a lot of things about this place, and it’s not that at all. We do a lot for the community.”

Payne said his group is disappointed that city officials failed to tell them they were interested in selling the property so the group could make an offer.

“We would’ve done that, but we weren’t offered the opportunity,” he said.

The measure to approve the sale of the property passed unanimously.

In other business, the council:

  • Passed a resolution authorizing an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation under which city funds will be used for ALDOT to improve U.S. 280 by adding a right turn lane from U.S. 280 West onto Summit Boulevard, reconstructing the existing traffic signal and improving Summit Boulevard by reconfiguring, resurfacing and striping. The city will pay the total improvement cost of $650,000, and the city will maintain the improvements.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing an agreement between the City of Birmingham and I See Me Inc. for $25,000, under which the group will implement the First Library Program. According to city officials, the project will provide underserved youth in Birmingham with their own home library “in an effort to build their sense of belonging, self-esteem and value in the world to address disparities in educational outcomes that predate the pandemic and amplified its impact on underserved youth.” Each First Library will include five books selected to reflect each child’s image, culture and experience.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing an agreement with Birmingham Bound Inc. under which the group will plan, execute and host events at the 2024 South by Southwest conference, March 8-16, to recruit and attract scaling and growing businesses to expand or relocate their businesses to Birmingham. The city will provide a $25,000 sponsorship to the group.
  • A resolution funding agreement with HBCU SpringComing, under which the organization will promote, market and host the HBCU SpringComing X through events, panels and service activities March 27-29. The city will provide a $100,000 sponsorship to host the HBCU SpringComing X. According to city officials, the event will generate revenue from out-of-town visitors and will provide positive publicity for the city.
  • A resolution authorizing an agreement with McWane Science Center, under which the center will implement the Dropping Science exhibition and programs, which will encourage visitors to use Science, Technology, Engineering and Math principles for creative and expressive interactions with technologically advanced interactive exhibits, inspired by the Hip Hop cultural movement, for a term of three years. The city will pay $450,000 for the services.
  • A resolution approving a project funding agreement with Kuntry Kitchen LLC, under which the business will undertake a project that will involve the hiring of five more employees at the Kuntry Kitchen restaurant at 101 40th Street South, Avondale, and the city will provide $15,000 in financial incentives to Kuntry Kitchen under the RISE program.