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Railroad Reservation Wish List July 31, 2006

Posted by cbuchanan in Uncategorized.

Dre’s visit to Chicago’s Millennium Park (a spectacular downtown park I can’t wait to see in person) got me thinking about what I’d like to see in our own forthcoming Railroad Reservation Park.

Now I know the plans are well under way for what’s going in there, but I can still dream of my own personal perfect park. So here you go, in no particular order:

1. A rebuilt “Birmingham-The Magic City” sign. It would be an instant icon and connect with the city’s railroad past, since the original sign stood in front of Terminal Station for years. To make it modern, the new version could light up in different colors or be the centerpiece of a fountain kids could play in.

2. Buildings with architecture inspired by the city’s lost train stations, particularly Terminal Station.

3. Walking and biking trails. I love the idea of the elevated trail next to the tracks that supposedly is part of the park plans. Other cities were built on rivers. Our river is the railroad, and we should appreciate it.

4. A natural forested area. Nice and shady. Perfect for relaxation, exploration, and bird/squirrel-watching.

5. A winding natural-looking creek. If Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park can attempt it, so can we. Put it in the forested area. It could flow into the lake that’s already planned. (I like the downtown lake and beach idea.)

6. A nifty fountain. Something iconic. (See 1.)

7. A wildflower meadow with plenty of native plants. It would look spectacular near Sloss Furnaces.

8. Quotes from songs and writings about Birmingham. I imagine these carved into concrete benches or set into paved trails throughout the park. They would remind us of our shared cultural history.

9. A great lawn for events and a really nice amphitheater. (Do it right like Chicago–not something that will fall apart in two years.)

10. A really nice playground for the kids (and adults like me who still can’t resist the swings!).

11. A Birmingham visitor’s center that would promote all local/regional attractions.

12. Panels describing the history of the city, the Railroad Reservation, and the buildings people can see from the trails. Show pictures of what the city looked like in different eras.

13. Changing art installations.

14. And if we want to keep this park looking as nice as the ones in Chicago and Atlanta, it–or at least parts of it–should have opening/closing hours.

What’s on your wish list?



1. Dystopos - August 2, 2006

That’s a pretty damn good list. I agree with #1. I’d love to see the Amtrack station completely rebuilt as a real station and have that sign, covered in neon and incandescent lights… or maybe zillions of LED’s… actually welcoming people into the park from the station.

2. cbuchanan - August 2, 2006

Ooooh, the things we could do with that sign and LEDs! Colorful light shows until the end of time! :)

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