Category: City of Birmingham

Woodfin Calls on Birmingham Council to Rezone Land in the Five Points West Area to Block a Planned Concrete Plant

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said Tuesday that he opposes the proposed relocation of a concrete plant from downtown to the city’s Five Points West community, and he called for the City Council to rezone the property in question to prevent future industrial use.

Last week, the council voted to oppose Sherman Industries’ announced plans to move its concrete batch facility from its current address of 1100 Second Ave. S. to 3240 Fayette Avenue, near the Birmingham CrossPlex Village. Read more.

Birmingham Looks at Limiting Dollar Stores, Easing Restrictions on Other Food Vendors as Way to Battle Food Deserts

A new ordinance proposed by Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin looks to combat the city’s food deserts by loosening regulations on farmers markets and mobile grocers, while simultaneously limiting the spread of dollar stores in low-income neighborhoods.

The proposed ordinance would establish a “healthy food overlay district” over areas of Birmingham defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as “low-access census tracts,” which are areas where “a significant number (at least 500 people) or share (at least 33%) of the population is greater than half a mile from the nearest supermarket, supercenter, or large grocery store.”

According to that data, 69% of Birmingham residents live in a food desert — a figure often cited by members of the Woodfin administration as motivating the new healthy food ordinance.

The council is expected to vote next week to set a public hearing to discuss the ordinance. Read more.

Referendum on Renewing Property Tax for Birmingham Schools Possible, Up for Discussion Next Week

Next week, Birmingham’s election commission will meet to discuss a potential citywide vote to renew a soon-to-expire ad valorem tax that provides Birmingham City Schools with approximately $27 million in yearly revenue. But that proposed election would have even wider ramifications, putting three city council seats — Districts 1, 6 and 7 — up for a vote. Read more.

Birmingham Launches A Citizen’s Experience to Connect Residents to City Hall

Applications are now open for A Citizen’s Experience, a new initiative from the city of Birmingham designed to promote civic engagement. The free, seven-week program is slated to begin in June and is open only to Birmingham residents who are 18 years old or older. Applications are being accepted this month. Read more.

Would You Be My Neighbor? Jefferson County Mayors Answer ‘Yes’ as They Sign Pledge Not to Poach Business

Trafford Mayor Greg Rogers wasn’t present in the Jefferson County Commission chambers this morning but the spirit of TV’s Mister Rogers was as 22 Jefferson County mayors signed the Good Neighbor Pledge.

The pact discourages poaching between cities in the county. Each city represented in the agreement pledges not to recruit business from another city within the county.

“Under the voluntary agreement, we as mayors promise we will not lure businesses away from other cities in Jefferson County through solicitation or incentives,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said. “I’m convinced the Good Neighbor Pledge will lay a better foundation for our cities’ future … all of us within the county.”

Woodfin said not having a pledge such as the one signed today put Birmingham at risk of losing small businesses, including shops, grocery stores and restaurants.

“When a business closes in one city and moves to a neighboring city, we’re not creating new jobs, we’re not creating opportunities,” the Birmingham mayor continued. “We’re just shuffling them around.” Read more.

Birmingham PD Adds High-Tech Tools to Its Crime-Fighting Arsenal

The Birmingham Police Department will soon have two new high-tech crime-fighting tools at its disposal. On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council approved nearly $75,000 for two law enforcement software systems, PredPol and Assisted Patrol Bait Systems, which are designed to increase patrol efficiency and crack down on repeat offenders, respectively. Read more.

The Big Picture: Woodfin’s Team Updates Residents About Progress on Public Safety, Economic Opportunities and Other Initiatives

A black-and-white photo of Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin — shot in profile, eyes fixed in an expression of steely determination — hovered over the stage of the Alabama School of Fine Arts’ Dorothy Jemison Day Theater on Thursday night.

But beneath that photo, seated casually in an onstage armchair, the actual Woodfin seemed comfortable ceding the spotlight to members of his team, watching quietly as they presented updates on his administration’s strategic plan — “The Big Picture,” as the evening was branded.

Woodfin initially unveiled that strategic plan, The Woodfin Way, in October; Thursday’s event served as a promised six-month check-up on its progress. Over the course of roughly 90 minutes, members of Woodfin’s administration gave short presentations on six key goals: public safety, public improvements, workforce development, economic opportunity, effective government and social justice. Read more.

Judge Tosses Memorial Protection Law in Case Over Birmingham Confederate Monument

Updated: A Jefferson County judge has voided a state law that protected historical monuments.

Ruling in a case over the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Birmingham’s Linn Park, then-Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Graffeo said that the law essentially forced a pro-Confederacy message on the city of Birmingham.

“Just as the state could not force any particular citizen to post a pro-Confederacy sign in his or her front lawn, so too can the state not commandeer the city’s property for the state’s preferred message.” Read more.

Woodfin Mournful but Optimistic in His Second State of the Community Address

Following a tragic week for Birmingham, Mayor Randall Woodfin delivered his second State of the Community address Monday night. His speech was equal parts elegiac and hopeful, addressing the death of former Mayor Larry Langford and the murder of Birmingham Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter while casting an optimistic eye toward the future.

“This evening, I come before you in a state of mourning,” he said during his speech. “We’re a city with a broken heart.”

But resilience, Woodfin argued, “is in our DNA,” and after a lengthy prayer from local pastor Terry Drake, he shifted his focus to the accomplishments of his administration’s first year at City Hall. The city, he said is, “writing another chapter in our grand legacy.” Read more.