Tag: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council Says Goodbye to Three of Its Members

The Birmingham City Council bid farewell to three of its members Tuesday, as well as to outgoing city finance director Lester Smith.

Council President William Parker and District 9 Councilor John Hilliard lost their re-election bids in a runoff earlier this month, while District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt decided not to seek reelection. Smith’s departure from Birmingham’s city government, meanwhile, was announced by Mayor Randall Woodfin at Tuesday’s meeting.

Parker was praised for his work to bolster the city’s entertainment industry, Hoyt for his Education with a Purpose scholarship initiative and Hilliard for his work in economic development. Read more.

No More Euphoria; Bham Council Revokes License of Infamous Club

The Birmingham City Council has revoked the business license of Club Euphoria, an Ensley nightclub deemed a “nuisance” by the surrounding neighborhood.

The council originally considered shutting the club down in June after repeated instances of gun violence inside and outside the club, including the June 13 killing of 21-year-old Euphoria patron Lykeria Briana Taylor. The council was split on revocation then, settling on a 13-week delay to give owners time to tighten up their safety plan.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Monica Hatcher, an attorney representing club owner Morris Bradley, told councilors that the club had “beefed up security” since June, including patrols around the surrounding neighborhoods to prevent club visitors from parking off-site.

But numerous residents argued that Bradley hadn’t done enough to address problems of parking and loud noise. “I have multiple documented occasions where the loud noise and the nuisance was such that neighbors were calling me at all hours of the night,” said Costella Adams Terrell, president of the Rising-West Princeton neighborhood association. Read more.

Birmingham Council Backing UAB Football With Ticket Buy

The city of Birmingham will purchase 1,000 tickets to every UAB football home game for a total cost of $100,000, the City Council decided Tuesday.

The tickets, which retail between $20 and $45 each, will be dispersed among city employees, youth groups and neighborhood associations, according to a resolution put forth by Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office.

The decision received pushback from the council’s two most senior members, outgoing District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt and District 3 Councilor Valerie Abbott, who said the city already was supporting UAB football to the tune of $3 million a year and the money could be better spent on city services. Read more.

Birmingham Applies for Grants to Beef Up Surveillance, Readies to Open Real-Time Crime Center

The city of Birmingham will apply for state and federal grants to purchase new license plate readers and high-definition surveillance cameras, the City Council decided Tuesday.

It also increased its contract for computer-aided dispatch maintenance services. The city plans to launch its “real-time crime center” later this month to combat the city’s rising rate of violent crime. Read more.

Project to Turn Old Ensley High Project Into Apartment Complex Moves Forward

Plans to redevelop the former Ensley High School into a 244-unit apartment complex took another step forward Tuesday, despite the continued misgivings of District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt.

The former high school, abandoned since 2006, was sold in April to the North Carolina-based developer Zimmerman Properties for $50,000. Zimmerman, in conjunction with the Housing Authority of Greater Birmingham, plans to redevelop the property into 244 apartment units for those earning between $16,000 and $45,000 annually.

On Tuesday, in a largely procedural vote, the council approved assignment of the project to 2301 Ensley LP, a single-purpose operation created to “protect the project and (its) grant funds in the event of an accident at other properties in the Zimmerman portfolio,” Cornell Wesley, the city’s director of innovation and economic opportunity, told councilors. Read more.

Birmingham Council OKs Extra Funds for Bus Rapid Transit System

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve using $18 million in American Rescue Plan funds to cover unexpected extra costs in construction of the city’s Bus Rapid Transit system.

The BRT project, which will create a 10-mile, higher-speed public transit corridor through 25 neighborhoods, broke ground in December. But last week, Charlotte Shaw, the city’s deputy director of capital projects, told councilors that the project had run into rising costs in the construction industry — a “perfect storm” resulting from COVID-19’s strain on the market. Even with significant cuts, she said, the city would need at least $14 million more to complete the BRT, which originally had been budgeted for $45.8 million. Read more.

Birmingham Council Set to Fund Rapid Transit Project Next Week

The Birmingham City Council is set to allocate $18 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan funding toward the construction of the city’s Bus Rapid Transit system. The project, which will create a 10-mile, higher-speed public transit corridor through 25 neighborhoods, broke ground in December. But rising construction costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic had placed significant strain on the project. Read more.

Impasse Between City Council, Mayor’s Office on Scheduling Delays Spending of City Relief Funds

Scheduling problems between the City Council and mayor’s office have slowed Birmingham’s efforts to spend $74 million in federal relief funding.

The city received its money from the American Rescue Plan in May and quickly allocated $17.5 million toward premium pay for city employees who worked through the COVID-19 pandemic. But negotiations over how to spend the rest of the remaining money stalled last month after Mayor Randall Woodfin proposed allocating the money into several different “buckets.”

To Woodfin’s obvious frustration, councilors balked, questioning the apparent arbitrariness of those allocations, particularly to public transportation, and delayed the item until a committee of the whole meeting could be convened. That meeting still hasn’t happened. Read more.