The Birmingham City Council approved more than $13 million in capital project funding Tuesday, focusing most prominently on streetscaping and improvements on city-owned properties such as Vulcan Park and Rickwood Field.
Several city councilors expressed relief about the funding, saying that it would put to rest major complaints they have received from their constituents.
“Thank you on behalf of the Pine Knoll Vista neighborhood,” District 4 Councilor J.T. Moore told Mayor Randall Woodfin, referencing the $815,000 that will be allocated to drainage improvements in that neighborhood. “That neighborhood has really been on my head about it. I can go to neighborhood association meetings and not sweat because we’re actually making moves on this project.”
District 9 Councilor LaTonya Tate echoed that gratitude over $598,615 in funding for drainage improvements in Hooper City, saying she had stepped into a “lion’s den” of complaints upon becoming councilor.
Mayor Randall Woodfin acknowledged that not every district’s needs could be fully met by this round of allocations, but he added that a meeting has been set with the finance team and the city’s bond counsel to “go deep” on potential market-based sources of funding.
“My only concern is just where we are as a nation and a world, with inflation and a possible recession,” he said. “What does that do for rates? But we want to max out on what we can do.” Woodfin added that councilors would need to present a “unified front” when future bond measures appear on city ballots. “I think (the public) will be willing and ready to do it so that we can get these projects moving,” he said.
Tuesday’s allocations also included $1,250,000 of funding for the new City Walk development, despite that property being state-owned. “The state did want the city to participate at a certain level,” he said. “This is what was agreed upon … (The state) asked the city to actually manage the property for them, and the city said no … I didn’t think we could afford to be responsible for another 10 blocks that are not our property.”
The space will be managed and operated by the BJCC, which will also provide security, maintenance, day-to-day operations and upkeep.
Here is a breakdown of the capital funding approved Tuesday by the council:
- 41st Street streetscape and drainage: $1,500,000
- Third Avenue West streetscape: $1,292,532.28
- City Walk: $1,250,000
- Green Springs Highway streetscape phase II: $1,200,000
- Pine Knoll Vista drainage: $815,000
- Forest Park Avondale Business District streetscape: $750,000
- Carver Avenue SW: $675,000
- Hooper City Phase V drainage improvement: $598,615
- Tuggle Elementary School access improvements: $583,337
- Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd streetscape: $500,000
- Second Avenue South streetscape: $500,000
- Interstate Greenway Project: $500,000
- Hawkins Golf Course repairs: $500,000
- Hanover Circle repaving: $475,000
- Vulcan Park improvements: $400,000
- 19th Street Ensley improvements: $400,000
- Rickwood Field improvement: $375,000
- City Park (Mountaindale Road Park): $168,503.89
- Museum of Art elevator repair: $150,000
- Cahaba Road roundabout: $150,000
- Eastlake Park (Fitness Court): $109,413
- Germania Park improvements: $96,477.20
- Henry Crumpton Recreation Center improvements: $37,561.19
- Fire Facilities improvements: $20,278.84