Karlos Dansby had one more reason to be thankful this Black Friday morning when he learned that the Birmingham Board of Education had accepted the bid to build a football stadium and fieldhouse on the campus of Woodlawn High School.
“Without a doubt, I’m thankful,” said Dansby, a 2000 alumnus of Woodlawn who went on to play at Auburn University before playing in the National Football League. “Happy Thanksgiving to everybody and I look forward to seeing this project come to life.”
The board of education on Tuesday unanimously approved a bid of $8.7 million with Argo Building Company for a new stadium and fieldhouse at Woodlawn High. Work on the project is expected to be completed in fall 2022.
It initially rejected the bid Nov. 9 with five members voting no, two voting yes and one abstaining after the estimated base project cost more than doubled from the initial $4.2 million estimate. Read more.
On one side of First Avenue North, Bayles Restaurant and Catering serves everything from thick hamburgers to lentil soup for a steady stream of residents, workers and even police officers. Across the street, other people flow into the soup kitchen offered by Grace Episcopal Church. A few blocks down at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, volunteers load boxes with meat, dry goods and vegetables for a regular food distribution to needy families.
You don’t have to look far to see both the success of redevelopment and the challenges that remain in Woodlawn.
The Health Community Assessment Tool compiled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ranks Woodlawn among the top tier of Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods in business retention and economic health. The community ranks near the bottom on public safety and blight.
Neighborhood leaders say change is coming and Woodlawn has seen rebirth in recent years – thanks to nonprofits, public-private partnerships, and a community of residents who refuse to let their neighborhood die.
“We just had to stand up,” said Donna Hall, a former officer in the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association. Read more.