Category: Economy

New Birmingham Bold Funding Approved for Economic Development Projects, From Help for Small Businesses to Job Training for Single Mothers

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve $680,949.46 in program funding for seven local organizations as part of Mayor Randall Woodfin’s Building Opportunities for Lasting Development initiative.

Adah International, the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Birmingham Business Resource Center, Jefferson State Community College, REV Birmingham, the Salvation Army, and the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham were the beneficiaries in Bold’s second year, following approval of the program’s “inaugural class” last November.

Several of the projects will help small businesses, with a focus on women-owned, minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses, while others will support underprivileged mothers and children and help residents improve their work skills. Read more.

New STEM Lab at Memorial Park Center Will Give Youth Access to Computers, Train Future Workers

Cyber Monday took on new meaning for residents of Birmingham’s Titusville Community with the ribbon-cutting of a STEM lab at Memorial Park Recreation Center.

The six-computer lab is courtesy of a $10,000 contribution from DC Blox, which opened its data storage center across the street in July.

Jeff Uphues, CEO of DC Blox, said he wasn’t in charge of the scheduling of Monday’s event but is glad the day had finally arrived.

“So much of our lives are driven by technology,” Uphues said. “This is just an example and a testament to what’s going on in the community to Titusville, a testament to the city of Birmingham and then the county. Everything that’s going on here is wonderful.”

The STEM lab is the result of DC Blox’s desire to do something for the community. Access to computer hardware, software and instruction was determined to be what the area wanted to provide a boost to area youth. Uphues said more than 800 youth are estimated to live in the Titusville Community and as many as 4,500 are within walking distance.

While the STEM lab is aimed at aiding children, the vision is broader, providing instruction to prepare young adults for the job market, for example. Read more.

Birmingham Water Works Board Approves Rate Increase

Birmingham Water Works customers will have slightly higher monthly water bills starting in January 2020. The Birmingham Water Works Board voted 5-1 Tuesday in favor of a 3.9% rate increase. Rick Jackson, spokesman for the Water Works Board, says the increase is necessary to maintain a viable water system and replace 100-year-old water mains. Read more.

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.