Category: Birmingham City Council

The Next 100: Woodfin Outlines Recommendations Committees Made on Neighborhoods, Economic Development and Schools, Among Others

Mayor Randall Woodfin in his “The First One Hundred” event Thursday evening presented the findings of his transition committees and vowed to make several changes to the structure of Birmingham’s city government based on the reports.

Woodfin gave his presentation during an event at the Alabama Theatre. Though the event’s title ostensibly referred to Woodfin’s first 100 days in office – a benchmark reached March 8 – Woodfin mostly ceded the spotlight to the heads of his transition team’s five citizen-led committees. He responded briefly to their suggestions at the end of each committee’s presentation.

Among the changes he said would be coming, Woodfin said he’s willing to form a formal partnership with the city school system. He also said he will reshape the mayor’s office’s division of economic development to the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, and he said he would create the Mayor’s Office of Social Justice during his next 100 days.

A 35-page booklet titled “The Woodfin Way: A Citizen-Led Transition for Progress in Birmingham” summarized the transition team’s findings and Woodfin’s resulting plans. The booklet was handed out during the event and is available online.

Transition committees reporting during the event were on neighborhood revitalization and public safety, education and workforce development, entrepreneurship and economic development, transparent and efficient government and social justice. Read more.
Read the full version of “The Woodfin Way: A Citizen-Led Transition for Progress in Birmingham.”

100 Days and Counting: Bham Mayor Randall Woodfin Set to Discuss Reports on His Top Issues

March 15, 2018 — Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is slated to present his transition team’s reports this evening at the Alabama Theatre during an event commemorating his first 100 days in office.

Woodfin’s transition team is led by former Birmingham-Southern College President Charles Krulak and former Alabama Power executive Bobbie Knight. It consists of five citizen-led committees focusing on various priorities in Woodfin’s administration: neighborhood revitalization and public safety, education and workforce development, transparency and efficient government, entrepreneurship and economic development, and social justice.

In the weeks following Woodfin’s inauguration, the committees held public meetings to gauge citizens’ concerns, the results of which were published on Woodfin’s campaign website. Reports from follow-up meetings among city officials and transition teams will be the focus of Thursday evening’s event. Read more.

Birmingham Council OKs Complete Streets Policy to Improve Street Access for Foot and Bicycle Traffic

March 6, 2018 — The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to amend the city’s transportation plan to include a “Complete Streets” policy, which would make streets more accessible to foot and bicycle traffic in addition to cars and public transit.

District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, who heads up the council’s Transportation and Communication Committee, described the ordinance’s passage as “a historic moment for the city of Birmingham.”

“I don’t think most folks realize it, but I truly believe that at some point in our future, maybe 15 or 20 years down the road, people will look back at this day and say, ‘We turned a corner here,’” he said. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Won’t Revoke License of the Former Onyx Lounge

Feb. 27, 2018 — Following a public hearing during Tuesday’s meeting, the Birmingham City Council decided against revoking the business license of Blu Nightlife Lounge, formerly known as Onyx Lounge.

The nightclub became the center of controversy following the Oct. 15 death of Maurice Morris, who was shot on the club’s back patio. On Nov. 7, the council voted to give the nightclub 16 weeks to implement changes to address safety concerns.

Tuesday’s meeting came at the end of that period, and the council appeared satisfied with the changes. Law enforcement officers told the council that they had not received any calls or complaints during that time, a stark contrast to the 81 calls they had received about Onyx between May and November 2017. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Approves New Stadium, in Theory

Feb. 6, 2018 — The Birmingham City Council voted today to support the construction of a new multi-purpose facility at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

The vote followed a lengthy back-and-forth among the council, Mayor Randall Woodfin and members of the public, with proponents arguing that the development will bring much-needed revenue into the city and opponents expressing skepticism about the necessity of the proposed 30-year, $90 million investment.

The BJCC expansion and renovation, which would include the construction of a new open-air stadium, would be funded by a mix of public and private sources. The city is slated to contribute $3 million a year for 30 years to the stadium; the BJCC Authority will pay $10.7 in annual debt service; UAB and private entities will contribute $4 million a year for 10 years; the Jefferson County government will pay $1 million a year for 30 years; and a proposed increase to the city’s rental car tax, still pending in the state Legislature, would account for $3.5 million in annual funding for 30 years.

Woodfin and Council President Valerie Abbott both emphasized that Tuesday’s vote was not for a specific contract or to allocate any funds, but rather a general statement of willingness to negotiate a specific plan. A Q-and-A between District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt and Woodfin, published online Monday, highlighted that many of the details have yet to be set in concrete.

Woodfin compared the resolution to a marriage proposal. “A person asking you to marry (them) is very different from the process of a prenuptial agreement,” he said. Read more.

Birmingham Mayor Woodfin Throws Support Behind New Stadium and BJCC Renovations

Jan. 31, 2018 — Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced his support for an expansion and upgrade to the BJCC arena Wednesday, saying revenue generated by the renovated stadium would go toward his administration’s priority of neighborhood revitalization.

The upgrades would include renovations to the Legacy Arena and outside piazza, as well as the construction of a $174 million new open-air stadium, though design specifics remain undetermined. Read more.

Council Moves Money From Legion Field Account to Lobby For Tax Increase to Fund Tourism and Economic Development

Jan. 23, 2018 — The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to reallocate $100,000 that had been earmarked for improving Legion Field to instead lobby in Montgomery for legislation designed to generate millions a year for the city.

Though the specifics of the legislation were not given during Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilor William Parker, chair of the parks and recreation committee, said after the meeting that one bill would be a proposed increase to the city’s automobile rental tax. Parker said the change could secure “millions of dollars for funding for tourism and entertainment and also for economic development opportunities … on an annual basis.”

Birmingham’s Future “an Open Question,” Woodfin Says in First State of the Community Address

Jan. 15, 2018 — Mayor Randall Woodfin shared a cautiously optimistic vision for Birmingham’s future during Monday night’s State of the Community address, highlighting several of his administration’s planned initiatives while also calling on citizens to take action themselves.

“The state of our community is an open question that only you and I can answer together,” he said. “I believe that we, as a city, can do great things — if we do the right things.”

Woodfin’s remarks the full text of which can be read here, reflected the collaborative tone of his Nov. 28 inauguration speech, emphasizing the importance of his relationship with the City Council and his focus on addressing education, poverty and crime, which he described as intrinsically interrelated. Read more.

Ensley’s Ramsay-McCormack Building Getting Repairs, But Its Future is Still in Doubt

UPDATED, Jan. 15, 2018 — Despite recent approval for $83,500 in repairs, the future of the Ramsay-McCormack building in Ensley remains uncertain.

The property was one of several for which the Birmingham City Council approved repairs during Tuesday’s meeting, along with Rickwood Field, the Southern Museum of Flight, Boutwell Auditorium and the Birmingham Museum of Art.

But the council did not discuss long-range plans for the Ramsay-McCormack, leaving the building’s much-debated future still in doubt. Read more.

Alcohol OK’d on Pedal Buses in Birmingham

Jan. 3, 2018 — During its first meeting of the year, the Birmingham City Council approved an ordinance allowing passengers of pedal buses to possess and consume alcoholic beverages.

It was the only item to receive significant discussion during the relatively short meeting, which was marked by the absence of several councilors due to illness and Mayor Randall Woodfin, who was in Washington attending the swearing-in of Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.