Every sector in Alabama’s economy is shrinking this year because of the pandemic. That’s according to Samuel Addy, senior research economist and associate dean for economic development outreach at the University of Alabama.
During a press conference Thursday, Addy joined Democrat Sen. Doug Jones to talk about Alabama’s economy, which they both agreed is in ‘survival mode.’
“All the help coming from D.C., the bills that the senator and others are working on, are not stimulus bills. They are actions and investments for survival,” Addy said. “We know that we are in a worse situation than a few months ago. We need to invest for survival because if we don’t survive, nothing matters.” Read more.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve economic incentives for a new student housing development near the UAB campus, and Jefferson County commissioners indicated they would do the same Thursday.
The seven-story development, which is expected to house up to 400 residents, will be built atop a brownfield site bordered by 13th and 14th Streets South and Fourth and Fifth Avenues South. Read more.
As Congress debates another stimulus package, many Alabama residents will now see their weekly unemployment checks drop to less than $300. Read more.
Before Tuesday’s Jefferson County Commission committee meeting, Joe Knight asked fellow commissioner Steve Ammons how he felt.
When Ammons, who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, said he felt fine, Knight quipped, “You don’t look very good.”
Today, as Ammons again watched the commission meeting in Bessemer online from home, Knight appealed to everyone to wear a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. Read more.
A plan to build a FedEx Ground distribution facility on Lakeshore Parkway was unveiled at the Jefferson County Commission committee meeting Tuesday. The plan, previously known as Project Fish, is for an approximately 290,000-square-foot distribution facility that will be constructed on a 46.01-acre site off Lakeshore Parkway. Bradley attorney Trey Hill said that about 70% of the site is in the corporate limits of the city of Birmingham and 30% in the city of Bessemer. Read more.
Alabama’s annual back-to-school tax-free weekend started today, with the state and many municipalities waiving sales taxes on school-related items. The sales breaks began at 12:01 a.m. Friday and run through the end of the day Sunday. See the items on the list and jurisdictions participating.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve creation of the “Avondale Entertainment District,” a stretch of 41st Street South where, starting July 1, it will be legal to drink alcohol in public.
It’s the fourth such area in the city, following entertainment district designations for Pepper Place, Uptown and Five Points South.
“So far, this has been very successful for the city of Birmingham,” said District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams, who chairs the council’s public safety committee.
The Avondale Entertainment District will stretch along 41st Street South between Second Avenue South and Fifth Avenue South. It’s a busy corridor of bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues including Saturn, the Avondale Common House, Post Office Pies, Saw’s Soul Kitchen, Melt, Fancy’s on Fifth, the Marble Ring, Avondale Brewing Company, 41st Street Pub and Parkside. Read more.
Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said this morning that the governor and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris are closely monitoring the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
“Until our next update, Gov. Ivey continues to reiterate that the threat of this virus is not behind us,” her press secretary, Gina Maiola, said in an emailed response to BirminghamWatch. She said Ivey continues to stress the need for personal responsibility during the pandemic.
“Our health care workers are doing their part. We are seeing businesses make sacrifices, and Gov. Ivey has faith in the people of Alabama to be smart as we wade through this health crisis,” Maiola added.
Alabama is among 21 states that have seen increases in their average daily coronavirus cases this week, according to data compiled by the Washington Post. Alabama, Oregon and South Carolina are among the states with the biggest increases.
Alabama reported a 92% increase in its seven-day average; Oregon was up 83.8% and South Carolina, 60.3%, according to the Post data. Read more.
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said today that the nation is in the midst of a “crisis trifecta” from the pandemic, the economic crisis and the battle for equal rights and treatment, and black Americans are disproportionately affected by each of those.
Jones spoke during a Facebook live video conference with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.
“The events of the past few weeks have laid bare the fact that structural and systemic inequality exist in almost every layer of society in the United States of America,” Jones said. “We are in what I have called a crisis trifecta — from the coronavirus pandemic, to the economic crisis and the moral awakening of so many people in this country to the fact that there are so many of our brothers and sisters who are still being denied equal opportunities, equal rights and equal dignities.” Read more.
Downtown Birmingham, including parts that were hit by an outbreak of violence on the night of May 31, was a lively place Sunday afternoon, with murals touting civic harmony and strength being mounted and painted and a steady stream of visitors from the city and suburbs joining in. Read more.