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10 to Anticipate August 7, 2006

Posted by cbuchanan in Uncategorized.
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Dre’s recent post got me thinking about the top 10 Birmingham-projects-in-progress I can’t wait to see finished. Some of these are just whispers, dreams, or drawings right now, and others are much further along, but hopefully all will become reality soon.

1. Railroad Reservation Park. This could be monumental for Birmingham, both literally and figuratively.

2. Red Mountain Park. Do you realize this park will make Birmingham the national leader in urban green space? We’d take the crown from Minneapolis. (It’s too bad the Jefferson Reserve project in the northern part of the county went kaput.)

3. Expansion of Ruffner Mountain. We take for granted the ability to get lost in wild forests just minutes from downtown. So many cities worldwide would give anything for that amenity.

4. Regional greenway system. This includes (and I don’t think I’m making it up) the proposed High Line trail, an elevated abandoned railroad track connecting Red Mountain Park and the western urban area. How cool is that? New York City is doing something similar with an old elevated track in Manhattan.

5. Return of the Barber’s sign/sprucing up of Five Points South. I promise I’m not making this one up.

6. Sinking the downtown portion of I-20/59 below ground. It was in the downtown master plan unveiled about two years ago. The road apparently needs replacing anyway, so it was proposed to sink it all and build wide (and hopefully parklike) bridges over it to reconnect downtown with the civic center and the immediate northern neighborhoods.

7. Eastwood master plan. It’s a far-out plan–a radical rethinking–that turns the Eastwood area, Century Plaza, Eastwood Festival Center, and various other retail spots into a community with a main street, retail village, residential areas, and parks. It kind of reminded me of Atlanta’s successful Atlantic Station.

8. Airport renovation and expansion. I love our airport. It always seems so calm and mellow compared to other airports. Anything that makes it easier for me to get around–and makes the place more accessible to the world–is good in my book.

9. Sloss Furnaces restoration. I hope they don’t clean it up *too* much, though. I’d want to hold on to some of that decayed feel it has now–so atmospheric and so Birmingham.

10. Residential action *south* of the downtown tracks. The lofts are getting lots of attention, but just look how rapidly 1st Avenue South between downtown and Pepper Place, 20th Street between the tracks and UAB, and the area between the Railroad Reservation Park and UAB are growing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see retail options show up in that area of the central city before downtown.

We’ve got a lot to look forward to in this town! What’s on your list?

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