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Old 07-25-2022, 07:41 AM
 
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Nice stuff. I only wish someone would get drone footage while a Barons game going on--when things are really hopping down there.
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Old 08-07-2022, 12:10 AM
 
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Something I've noticed about Birmingham is that people frequently talk about how great it is, or how great it's about to be. Louisville is another city where you see that a lot. I guess the common denominator between these two is that they have some really nice things about them, but on the other hand they haven't quite gotten the recognition yet as a major city.

Birmingham does have a large historic area downtown and picturesque terrain in the suburbs. The affluent part also is almost entirely in the suburbs. Between that factor and the terrain itself, the affluent parts are not interspersed with lower or working class neighborhoods like some cities. By comparison I noticed that in west Mobile, the affluent part seems to fade a bit and apparently the growth has shifted across the bay.

That didn't happen on Birmingham's affluent side, presumably because the terrain discouraged builders from putting in downscale subdivisions amid the steep hills. Meanwhile the suburban towns presumably kept out apartment complexes to protect the schools. The end result is that the affluent part of Birmingham is safe and consistently affluent unlike some places, and my sense is that makes Birmingham residents feel proud.

In contrast Louisville took the opposite route, incorporating everything into the city of Louisville. To me from what I've seen, what stands out about Louisville is the adorable in-town historic neighborhoods, chock-full of local restaurants and bars. Louisville never widened its major thoroughfares through those historic areas, so instead of being lined with gas stations and fast food, they are lined with trendy restaurants and outdoor patio areas.

I also noticed that Louisville has done a nice job with historic restoration and landscaping their downtown. They also have nice river views.

Maybe another commonality is that both cities are very close to larger, faster-growing cities like Atlanta, Nashville, and Cincinnati, hence the need to fight for that recognition.
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Old 08-07-2022, 08:54 AM
 
10,179 posts, read 5,863,132 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brickpatio2018 View Post
Something I've noticed about Birmingham is that people frequently talk about how great it is, or how great it's about to be. Louisville is another city where you see that a lot. I guess the common denominator between these two is that they have some really nice things about them, but on the other hand they haven't quite gotten the recognition yet as a major city.

Birmingham does have a large historic area downtown and picturesque terrain in the suburbs. The affluent part also is almost entirely in the suburbs. Between that factor and the terrain itself, the affluent parts are not interspersed with lower or working class neighborhoods like some cities. By comparison I noticed that in west Mobile, the affluent part seems to fade a bit and apparently the growth has shifted across the bay.

That didn't happen on Birmingham's affluent side, presumably because the terrain discouraged builders from putting in downscale subdivisions amid the steep hills. Meanwhile the suburban towns presumably kept out apartment complexes to protect the schools. The end result is that the affluent part of Birmingham is safe and consistently affluent unlike some places, and my sense is that makes Birmingham residents feel proud.

In contrast Louisville took the opposite route, incorporating everything into the city of Louisville. To me from what I've seen, what stands out about Louisville is the adorable in-town historic neighborhoods, chock-full of local restaurants and bars. Louisville never widened its major thoroughfares through those historic areas, so instead of being lined with gas stations and fast food, they are lined with trendy restaurants and outdoor patio areas.

I also noticed that Louisville has done a nice job with historic restoration and landscaping their downtown. They also have nice river views.

Maybe another commonality is that both cities are very close to larger, faster-growing cities like Atlanta, Nashville, and Cincinnati, hence the need to fight for that recognition.

Another factor is the Birmingham had to fight, and still does have to fight, a lot of bad history. Essentially from the Great Depression until the election of Arrington, it was incredible how many dumb decisions were made by the civic leadership, from truckling to US Steel to scrapping a fine transit system to the entire Civil Rights idiocy to the failure to consolidate the metro area when it had a chance to ill-conceived downtown restoration projects, it was absolutely perverse.



Add to that the mossbacks in the suburbs who pretended that Birmingham was a zillion miles away (And therefore not their concern) and the state government that actually did its best to stand in the city's way, and it was almost an act of will for Birmingham to climb out of the crater that was the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.



Arrington was probably the first mayor who actually had a vision, but he was still Old School in terms of the black/white divide in lots of ways. Then we had Bernard Kincaid who did.....what did he do? Larry Langford had ideas, but he also sold the county down the river for some suits from Shaia's. William Bell wasn't an awful mayor and got a lot of Birmingham's downtown renaissance underway. And Randall Woodfin seems to be the real deal.



So I'm hopeful now. Sure, lots of work to be done, but it's an upward trajectory.
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Old 08-07-2022, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Birmingham, AL
2,294 posts, read 1,763,308 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brickpatio2018 View Post
In contrast Louisville took the opposite route, incorporating everything into the city of Louisville. To me from what I've seen, what stands out about Louisville is the adorable in-town historic neighborhoods, chock-full of local restaurants and bars. Louisville never widened its major thoroughfares through those historic areas, so instead of being lined with gas stations and fast food, they are lined with trendy restaurants and outdoor patio areas.

I also noticed that Louisville has done a nice job with historic restoration and landscaping their downtown. They also have nice river views.
I do wish Birmingham had consolidated with Jefferson County years ago. Not even to hold the largest city title, but just to create a more unified government. You correctly point out that the suburbs have historically tried to isolate themselves from the city.

Birmingham does have several "adorable in-town historic neighborhoods", though. Avondale, Five Points / South Side, Lakeview, Downtown, Forest Park, Highland Park... all of which have restaurants and bars. I think overall we've done a decent job with historic restoration as well, and you're starting to see better street / landscaping projects move forward. 20th Street is a good recent example.
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:41 PM
 
254 posts, read 314,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
Another factor is the Birmingham had to fight, and still does have to fight, a lot of bad history. Essentially from the Great Depression until the election of Arrington, it was incredible how many dumb decisions were made by the civic leadership, from truckling to US Steel to scrapping a fine transit system to the entire Civil Rights idiocy to the failure to consolidate the metro area when it had a chance to ill-conceived downtown restoration projects, it was absolutely perverse.



Add to that the mossbacks in the suburbs who pretended that Birmingham was a zillion miles away (And therefore not their concern) and the state government that actually did its best to stand in the city's way, and it was almost an act of will for Birmingham to climb out of the crater that was the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.



Arrington was probably the first mayor who actually had a vision, but he was still Old School in terms of the black/white divide in lots of ways. Then we had Bernard Kincaid who did.....what did he do? Larry Langford had ideas, but he also sold the county down the river for some suits from Shaia's. William Bell wasn't an awful mayor and got a lot of Birmingham's downtown renaissance underway. And Randall Woodfin seems to be the real deal.



So I'm hopeful now. Sure, lots of work to be done, but it's an upward trajectory.
To be fair to the suburbs, by the late 90's and early 00's, there really wasn't much to be hopeful for. The county had fallen to ridiculous Ponzi schemes and the city later elected Langford who spearheaded that folly (the county later had to file bankruptcy). Leadership was not only corrupt, but inept at the time. While the suburbs might've been initially due to white flight, by the 90's, there was so much wrong with the core city, reinvesting was a tall ask. Even nonaffluent places with prominent black residents like Center Point were incorporating just not get dragged into stuff. By that point, they can't step in and take charge, because the severe resentment that would take place; they could only slowly reintroduce themselves to those communities at that point (note that a lot of the private Christian schools like Restoration Academy and Cornerstone School that service poorer areas and are funded by donations were founded in the late 80s/early 90s. This is also when ASFA got the new campus. Angel Tree was also founded in the 80s. McWane was founded in the 90s; a lot of those initial donations were OTM money.). OTM investments into the city were mostly in ways that bypassed being administered by the city. There's a reason why the Birmingham metro is ranked so high on charitable giving beyond just religiosity: to fund things other places would've assigned to government.

That said, Langford would shoot off any idea he could think of, and while many were misses mostly due to really bad planning (never trust that man with funding anything), if you throw out that much stuff, something's bound to hit, even if you bankrupt yourself in the process. However, he also brought in AC Roper as police chief.

William Bell initially looked like the city would return to plain old ineffective, corrupt leadership (Bell had some ties to the shadier sides of the Birmingham School Board). He actually turned out to be a decent leader. Paired with Roper cleaning up crime with his community involvement policy (pre-Ferguson, after the media coverage with the racist cop story and the rise of more national BLM narrative instead of various municipal narratives, it looks like police community involvement was as effective as it had been), the idea of fixing Birmingham stopped being "needs to completely clean house at every layer" to actually workable. Bell really did a lot to make the city government look like a party that's reasonable to do business with, even if the house hadn't been completely cleaned out. If Langford was the crazy writer who wrote down any idea that came to mind, Bell is the editor who saved the book by pushing to make the ideas more properly arranged and fleshed out.
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Old 08-10-2022, 05:55 AM
 
423 posts, read 329,111 times
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Something being done in Jackson, MS is that the state created a separate state police force that now protects about 8 square miles in the city where all the major institutions are located (state government, medical centers, colleges, restaurants, historic neighborhoods, downtown). The suburbs which are crime free start about 5 minutes away from this district.

They will have ramped up to 150 officers covering those 8 square miles by end of 2023. The genius of this idea is that the areas best suited for reinvestment will be well protected by the state police, hence incentivizing new investment in the city.
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Old 08-10-2022, 06:48 AM
 
423 posts, read 329,111 times
Reputation: 1267
Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
Another factor is the Birmingham had to fight, and still does have to fight, a lot of bad history. Essentially from the Great Depression until the election of Arrington, it was incredible how many dumb decisions were made by the civic leadership, from truckling to US Steel to scrapping a fine transit system to the entire Civil Rights idiocy to the failure to consolidate the metro area when it had a chance to ill-conceived downtown restoration projects, it was absolutely perverse.



Add to that the mossbacks in the suburbs who pretended that Birmingham was a zillion miles away (And therefore not their concern) and the state government that actually did its best to stand in the city's way, and it was almost an act of will for Birmingham to climb out of the crater that was the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.



Arrington was probably the first mayor who actually had a vision, but he was still Old School in terms of the black/white divide in lots of ways. Then we had Bernard Kincaid who did.....what did he do? Larry Langford had ideas, but he also sold the county down the river for some suits from Shaia's. William Bell wasn't an awful mayor and got a lot of Birmingham's downtown renaissance underway. And Randall Woodfin seems to be the real deal.



So I'm hopeful now. Sure, lots of work to be done, but it's an upward trajectory.
Jackson's history shares many of these same features. When the city transitioned politically in the early 1990s, the political divisions were blatant and undisguised and propagated without irony. Money that normally would have been invested on an annual basis into streets, water, and sewer went somewhere else. (I've also assumed city hall became an employment center for friends and cronies, but I don't know that).

Apparently with infrastructure, you have to either invest a little each year for maintenance or you spend a fortune later to replace everything entirely. City leaders were not responsible. The one bright light is that as recently as 2009, Jackson had just 37 homicides (compared to last year's 155 despite 30,000 fewer residents), which was due to the mayor at that time's major focus on law enforcement.

The mayors since then have ignored policing and the results are in. But this year a blessing occurred. The Democrat city leaders finally reached out to Republican state leaders and asked for help. Perhaps because the governor himself was nearly shot while living in the governor's mansion downtown, the state legislature approved (thank God) the creation of the new state police force that is now protecting downtown Jackson and 8 square miles where the city's major institutions and restaurant areas are located. (The adjacent suburbs are all crime free).

The city is in a new era of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans/ Blacks and Whites, and I believe very good things will follow. Jackson has an adorable retro vibe ( see The Help) and some amazing historic urban neighborhoods. The time is now to usher in a new era, just as Birmingham appears to have done in the past 5 or so years.
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Old 08-12-2022, 11:52 AM
 
3,215 posts, read 3,356,241 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brickpatio2018 View Post
Something being done in Jackson, MS is that the state created a separate state police force that now protects about 8 square miles in the city where all the major institutions are located (state government, medical centers, colleges, restaurants, historic neighborhoods, downtown). The suburbs which are crime free start about 5 minutes away from this district.

They will have ramped up to 150 officers covering those 8 square miles by end of 2023. The genius of this idea is that the areas best suited for reinvestment will be well protected by the state police, hence incentivizing new investment in the city.
Will also probably send the areas not covered by that force into further disarray.

It isn't state funded or even a real police force, but CAP Downtown is kinda similar to that.
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Old 10-14-2022, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
689 posts, read 595,402 times
Reputation: 264
The Magic City's natural beauty on display!

https://youtu.be/fey1rTj15xY
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Old 10-15-2022, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
689 posts, read 595,402 times
Reputation: 264
Parkside, Midtown, and Downtown! Real density! Real grid system! Real urban cityscape!

https://youtu.be/18fVS8Vas2o
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