Tag: Birmingham City Council

City OK’s $5 Million to Help Keep BSC Open

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved $5 million in funding to help keep Birmingham-Southern College operating.

The city will provide BSC a $2.5 million loan that will be forgiven provided BSC opens classes in the fall and a 20-year loan for the same amount to be repaid at a 1% interest rate. Read more.

New Community Center Planned for Old Bank Building in Ensley

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved selling a former AmSouth Bank building in Ensley to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity so it can establish a community center there.

The Mu Psi Lambda chapter of the fraternity intends to refurbish the building and transform it into a multi-purpose outreach center to serve as a resource to the Ensley community by eliminating blight, providing youth and community training programs and other services. Read more.

Get Your Children to School, Woodfin Tells Parents

Mayor Randall Woodfin said Tuesday that Birmingham schools have unusually large numbers of truant students and, if he has to, he’ll push for parents to be held legally accountable for allowing their children to stay home from school.

Ten weeks into the school year, well more than half of third graders are considered truants, which means they have seven or more unexcused absences, Woodfin said.

“It’s unacceptable,” the mayor said.

“Teachers cannot teach your child if they are not in class.” Read more.

Birmingham Council Amends Laws Affecting Predatory Towing, Plan More Changes

The Birmingham City Council wrestled with the issue of predatory towing this week and passed two ordinances to start addressing the problems.

Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, who heads the council’s transportation committee, has worked to resolve complaints on both issues since 2017.

After council approval of the ordinances, he called the action “a milestone because it has been a lot of effort.” Read more.

Birmingham City Council OKs $4.5M More for Rickwood Field Improvements

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday secured funding for improvements at Rickwood Field in preparation for the MLB coming to town next summer for a tribute game.

Councilors approved an agreement for the city PACE Board to issue $4.5 million in bonds through PNC bank. It also during the year has approved several allocations totaling about $2.5 million for renovations at the field, and it recently approved allocations of $150,000 a year for three years to the Friends of Rickwood Field. Read more.

In the Shadow of Brother Bryan: Homeless Living in Park Draw Ire, Sympathy

Sometimes the tears welled up in Brother Bryan’s eyes

The Rev. James Alexander Bryan, a Princeton-educated pastor, is known in Birmingham as an advocate for those facing homelessness.

“They are all dying for a little bit of love, for a kind word, for a warm handshake,” Brother Bryan was quoted in the book “Religion in Shoes” as saying of those he served. “Beneath that torn coat or ragged shawl, the life may be torn, but there is a soul for whom Jesus died.”

This week, Terrance Smith sat in a Birmingham park named after Brother Bryan. Smith is among hundreds facing unsheltered homelessness in and around Birmingham, many of whom frequent the city’s parks, including Brother Bryan in the Five Points neighborhood.

Earlier this month, Birmingham city councilors discussed individuals facing homelessness in Brother Bryan Park after a member of the public asked that city officials do more to address what he described as a “real problem.”

“It’s just horrifying what goes on over there,” Councilor Valerie Abbott said at the body’s meeting on Aug. 8. “There are people living in the park, and no other people will go in there.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Smith reacted to the council’s comments, saying he felt some of the discussion was offensive. Councilors, Smith said, should “get to know their neighbors.”

“I think they’re wrong,” Smith said, an etching of Brother Bryan on a stone facade just a stone’s throw away. “They just push us aside like we’re not people, but they forget. God created me. God created them. So what’s the difference?” Read more.

Birmingham City Council President Dissents From Vote Pledging Financial Support for Birmingham-Southern College

It’s not about Birmingham-Southern College; it’s about the residents of Birmingham.

That’s what Birmingham City Council President Wardine Alexander said Tuesday in her dissent from passage of a resolution pledging city dollars to support BSC, a private college, if the institution is able to obtain additional funding from the state. Read more.