Mountain Brook gal: Achieving my dreams in downtown Birmingham

Mimi Shannon
Mimi Shannon

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Mimi Shannon.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

At this second, writing this article, I am sitting right next door to my apartment building on the brand new Rotary Trail.

The sun is setting, the “Magic City” sign is changing from red to white, there is a black family with their kids that are playing on an abstract cement seat, a preppy looking young white father and his two toddler children walking by, a young hippie couple admiring the trail, Zyp bikes flying above me on 1st Avenue South, and runners galore.

Continue reading Mountain Brook gal: Achieving my dreams in downtown Birmingham

Red Mountain Park faces a difficult future

David Dionne, Executive Director, Red Mountain Park
David Dionne, Executive Director, Red Mountain Park

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is David Dionne.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

I’m frustrated.

That’s why I’m willing to go out on a limb and disclose what’s going on at Red Mountain Park.

I see so much potential for Birmingham, for Red Mountain Park, and for our regional park system.

But the public, our potential donors, and government officials don’t seem to understand what we’re up against. Continue reading Red Mountain Park faces a difficult future

Birmingham slammed twice by national publication

Creek along Jemison Train, Mountain Brook--calm and peaceful
Jemison Trail, Mountain Brook, located in our Birmingham region (no stress here) Photo by Barry Leff

Okay, we were embarrassed again…

…actually twice within two weeks by the same publication.

But I keep having this unsettling thought.

What if we live in one of the most livable cities in America, but these preposterous loony rankings convince us and people elsewhere that we’re a bunch of losers? Continue reading Birmingham slammed twice by national publication

Does anyone give a damn about Vulcan?

Even Vulcan is embarrassed--drawing by Adam Stermer
Vulcan has a serious problem–drawing by Adam Stermer

Vulcan has a problem–a serious problem!

I find this distressing since I have a soft spot in my heart for this not so lovable Roman God.

I can’t imagine a Birmingham without Vulcan…and no other city in the U.S. or abroad has anything like him.

This 50-ton cast iron statue (the largest in the world) was a meaningful part of my childhood.

When I was a boy, I remember the slow/squeaky elevator ride up to the viewing platform where I was rewarded with a stunning view of Birmingham. Continue reading Does anyone give a damn about Vulcan?

Birmingham: Bear Bryant may be turning over in his grave

Paul Bear Bryant
Paul Bear Bryant

I graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965.

If you are a college football fan you may remember that between 1961 and 1965 UA won three NCAA College National Championships.

Joe Namath was our quarterback, but more importantly, our coach was the legendary Paul Bear Bryant.

No need to give a history lesson on Coach Bryant, but unless you’re of a certain age, you may not know one important fact about the Bear. Continue reading Birmingham: Bear Bryant may be turning over in his grave

How we slashed crime by 70% in downtown Birmingham

Douglas Stewart,
Douglas Stewart

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Douglas Stewart.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

The story you are about to hear is truly remarkable.

If an author had written it as a plot in a book, you wouldn’t have thought it possible.

For many years downtown Birmingham had the reputation of being unsafe.

Many people had given up on our downtown.  There were vacant buildings everywhere and businesses were rushing to the suburbs never to return. Continue reading How we slashed crime by 70% in downtown Birmingham

Birmingham embarrassed by another key national ranking

Crestline Village in Mountain Brook. One of many Jefferson County municipalities not in Birmingham
Crestline Village in Mountain Brook, one of many Jefferson County municipalities.

We in Birmingham should be growing weary.

Another national publication has punished Birmingham with a low ranking.

Our self-esteem drops and our reputation is damaged.

But this is ironic, because the ranking, like many others, is neither accurate nor fair.

Continue reading Birmingham embarrassed by another key national ranking

How Birmingham can become a major player on the world stage

Brad Toland
Brad Toland

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Brad Toland.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

It’s no secret that Birmingham has radically undergone a change of identity over the last several years.  New developments are happening so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with them all.

However, just like the fifteen year old that decides to attempt personal reinvention over the summer, sometimes the changes aren’t necessarily for the best in the long run, and need to be carefully considered with a focus on long term impacts. Continue reading How Birmingham can become a major player on the world stage

Something strange at Jefferson County Courthouse

Jefferson County Courthouse
Jefferson County Courthouse

Oh no!

I had to go to the Jefferson County Courthouse to transact some business.

Based on my previous experiences, I would rather have a ‘root canal.’

The last time I went to the courthouse there were people lined up around the block. The hallways were filled with angry folks with tempers flaring.

Some citizens were compelled to hire surrogates to stand in line so they wouldn’t have to miss a day of work to transfer a license tag. Continue reading Something strange at Jefferson County Courthouse

The pain of losing a family treasure to an awakening Birmingham

John W. Scott
John W. Scott

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is John Scott.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

It was a little slice of Birmingham cultural and architectural history.  If you’re of a certain age (that is, old) you may remember going to Waite’s after church on Sunday and having the egg salad sandwich or eclairs.

You may also remember the strange foods over in the small and dusty grocery section, my most clear memory being the tins of chocolate covered ants from South America.  Continue reading The pain of losing a family treasure to an awakening Birmingham

To begin a conversation about a better Birmingham