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Keeping the magic alive? Caring people share ideas for future

July 8, 2009

Young and old, black and white, we all felt the magic of our annual meeting on May 11, and we’re working hard to capture all the ideas we can from that great day. For two weeks, we’ve been sharing the dreams of some of those who were part of our 50th anniversary.

If you missed the occasion, don’t worry. We still want your ideas. So read, think and then, imagine with us as we move forward through our next 50 years.

Cutressa M Williams: I hope we never lose our “Magic.” My wildest dream is for B’ham to really embrace its potential and become the seat of change, setting the pace for the rest of the state as a mecca for thriving economic prosperity, efficient inner- and surrounding, commuter transportation and for being a HUGE melting pot of diverse cultures, peoples and ideas!
Elna Brendel: I enjoy the positive way that we are trying to improve the community and our environment. I would love to see the day when all the different communities work together to improve education, crime, the positive things of each area, and are willing move to help each other grow and change for the best of all of us.
Barbara Royal: To have reputation for outstanding quality in important areas (transportation, education, “one” community vs. fifedoms, cultural, performing, and outdoor arts, museums, leaders in technology advancement, good pool of funds for startup/innovative projects, embracing and utilizing our diversity, etc). We need more that puts us in “the best” categories. This does not always require the most $$, it requires the best leadership and imagination (small and med cities are achieving this, such as Portland, Chattanooga, etc.) There are many examples, but we are not taking advantage of talents and opportunities we already have. So how can we attract more? We also need to be able to better promote the arenas in which we are attractive.
Andy Jenkins: Birmingham’s future rests in the hands of the many volunteers and service organizations that exist. I hope that we never depend on the government to do here what the people can do better by simply motivating volunteers and donors to continue doing what they do best.
Dorrie Fuchs: The level of philanthropic giving is incredible, and I love what this says about the individuals and institutions that call Birmingham home. Being new to the area, I also really appreciate how much people love living here. I would hope that urban renewal can expand the life that exists in parts of the city more broadly. There are many empty buildings and storefronts, and it would be great if they could be brought back into use
Madelyn Jones: If the leadership continues, the Community Foundation will contribute to many lives. We are very lucky to have your support. The low-vision members of our community will be served in a wonderful manner because of your support. Please never forget that loosing vision is one of the most severe disabilities.
Russell Jackson: An Advised Trust Fund established for every charity that provides a “critical” service in this community so they can focus more on the delivery of their programs and services, and less on survival. It would be inspiring if the Community Foundation led this charge to ensure our most precious services, that should have more government support and do not, are sustained indefinitely.
Scout O’Beirne: Ever since I was young enough to know that there was a bigger world out there beyond Birmingham and Hoover I have wanted to leave. I have had the most fortunate opportunities to travel to countries outside the United States and visit grand cities with public transportation and thriving cultural and business districts. Personally for me, Birmingham is a city on the brink of death, if not already dead.
However, attending the Youth Leadership Birmingham program opened my eyes to all of the great events going on in Birmingham and all of the attempts to revitalize the city. And although I think it will take a long, hard effort, especially in these economic times, I think Birmingham can eventually become the great city it once was.

One of the main projects right now in revitalizing Birmingham is the Railroad Park. I have seen other parks like this one, such as the Discovery Green in Houston, that have taken off and have become an extremely important factor in revitalizing a dying downtown. I think the Railroad Park can play this role in Birmingham, and I think it is essential to Birmingham’s revitalizing to have more safe, green areas for families.

Another issue that I think Birmingham really needs to work on is public transportation. It is a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg cycle, what comes first, population or transportation? But I think we have to start somewhere, and the current “public transportation” in Birmingham is a poor excuse for any transportation period. I think what will eventually need to happen with PT are routes running from downtown to outer suburban areas.

Also I think working on supporting local businesses and Urban renewal and development in the area is very important. I know the Innovation Depot does a very good job of fostering new businesses, but we need incentives for those local businesses to stay in Birmingham. Also, Jeremy Edreich is an architect who is currently working on creating affordable loft living space in downtown. Another great way to get businesses and people is to create buildings where store owners can have their own apartments above the store.

We really just need to look long and hard at planning a new, smart, renewed downtown Birmingham that utilizes urban renewal strategies and capitalizes on the current brilliant people we have working to revitalize Birmingham.

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2 Comments leave one →
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