Category: Economy

City Allocates $4M in Emergency Funding to Rehab Ramsay-McCormack

Plans to renovate the long-derelict Ramsay-McCormack Building in Ensley are underway. The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve a $4 million plan that could have the building revitalized and open by August 2021, developers say.

The council’s decision comes just one day before a lawsuit against the city over the building’s renovation is slated to once again go before a judge.

The 10-story office building, which was built in 1929, has been empty since 1986.

Legion Field’s Future Big Topic During Magic City Classic Week

WBHM
This week, the McDonald’s Magic City Classic presented by Coca-Cola will again turn Legion Field into an around-the-clock tailgate party. Before it ends, tens of thousands of people will pack the historic stadium Saturday for the annual clash between the two largest historically black colleges in the state — the Hornets of Alabama State University and the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M University. Read more.

Tax Bills Increase for Many in Jefferson County

WBHM
The former AT&T City Center is a vacant skyscraper in downtown Birmingham. This year’s property tax bill will be nearly half a million dollars more than it was last year. That’s one of many properties whose owners can expect to pay more in taxes this year, including owners of homes. That’s because of a strong economy and high interest from developers in some areas. Ty West, editor of the Birmingham Business Journal tells WBHM’s Janae Pierre the biggest factor driving these increases is the new Alabama Appraisal Manual. Read more.

Cyberattacks Like the One on DCH Are Increasingly Common

Ransomware attacks are the most significant cyber threat to hospitals across the country, according to John Riggi, a 28-year veteran of the FBI and now senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk at the American Hospital Association. “Ransomware has a direct impact to interrupt patient care delivery operations and potentially patient safety,” Riggi says. Read more.

Alabama, Business and Brexit

There’s a lot of unrest around politics in Washington right now, and it’s the same in the United Kingdom as the clock is ticking on a Brexit deal. The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on October 31st, which has put Prime Minister Boris Johnson and parliament in a state of turmoil. Andrew Staunton is the UK’s representative in the American South. As the British Consul General in Atlanta, he oversees relations in six states, including Alabama. On a recent trip to Birmingham he sat down with WBHM’s Andrew Yeager. Read more and listen to the interview.

What’s the Future of Legion Field?

WBHM
It won’t be long before construction starts on the new Protective Stadium at the BJCC in downtown Birmingham. It’s expected to be finished in 2021. That brings up a big question: what happens to Birmingham’s current stadium, Legion Field? An article published Friday in the Birmingham Business Journal explores some options. WBHM’s Andrew Yeager spoke about those with BBJ editor Ty West. Read more.

Hallmark Cooperative Takes Control of Iconic Property in Warrior, Plans Development

Warrior Mayor Johnny Ragland is like a child looking forward to Christmas as he envisions Warrior’s Hallmark Farms development coming to fruition.

Considering the floating Christmas tree and decorated barn with which passersby had become familiar, that is understandable.

“Myself, I would love to have it next month,” Ragland said. “Two businesses over here. Five over here. But it takes time.”

Members of the Hallmark Cooperative announced today that it has officially taken control of the property just off Interstate 65 and nearly surrounded by Locust Fork, one of three major tributaries of the Black Warrior River.

Along with revealing the logo for the cooperative, which features the iconic barn on the property, cooperative members talked about what is to come to the area in north Jefferson County.

“We can bring as much as 720 jobs to just this property,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons, who is president of the cooperative. “That is a huge influx of daytime folks.” Read more.

Getting by in Food Deserts: Mobile Grocery Stores, Neighborhood Farms Help Residents Find Fresh Food

Roland Washington checked off the names of his neighbors who had come to buy groceries at the mobile store that twice a month visits his apartment complex near Tarrant, an area of Birmingham that has few to no options for fresh food.

The mini crowd-control task for which Washington volunteers his time is managing the people who come to take advantage of the wholesale-priced fresh produce, meat and other food provisions sold on a first come-first serve basis. He makes sure no more than a few people enter the trailer at a time.

For Washington and his neighbors, that mobile grocery store is the difference between getting fresh vegetables and fruits or not. The Corner Market, the mobile grocery store run through a program of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, is an initiative aimed at relieving the difficulties faced by people who live in food deserts. Food deserts are defined as areas where at least 500 people live more than half a mile from a full-service grocery store.

The lack of access to fresh food is a problem faced by people across the world. About 23.5 million people in the U.S. live in food deserts, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Nearly half of them are low-income.

Closer to home, almost 2 million people in Alabama live in food deserts, according to a 2015 report on food access by the The Food Trust. In Jefferson County, that number is 205,657.

In Birmingham, 69 percent of residents live far enough away from a grocery store to make it difficult for them to obtain fresh food, Mayor Randall Woodfin told the City Council in a meeting this spring. He said part of all nine council districts exist in a food desert.
The Corner Market and other mobile grocery stores are one way communities are trying to alleviate the difficulties for people who live in food deserts. Read more.

New Grocery Delivery Program Aims to Curb Senior Hunger

Alabama ranks poorly when it comes to food insecurity among seniors. In Jefferson County alone, more than 129,000 older adults struggle with hunger. A new grocery delivery program through the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama aims to improve seniors’ access to healthy food.

Under the program, eligible seniors will receive 30 pounds of dry goods, canned fruits and vegetables, and fresh cheese delivered to their homes each month. The program is aimed at seniors who can’t afford to buy groceries or who live in areas where it’s difficult to find healthy food. Jamie McLynn, director of partnerships at the food bank, says seniors often have to make tough decisions. Read more.