Meetings, news, events, and updates from the Central City Neighborhood Association.
February 4, 2016
Re: Neighborhood Leaders I20/59 Public Space/Park Plans Meeting
Today at approximately at 11:30am, I and a select few other neighborhood officers – including Amie Evans of Druid Hills, Adrienne Reynolds of Enon Ridge, Andre Brown of Fountain Heights, and Mary Jean LaMay of Norwood – were invited via email by the city to attend a stakeholder meeting about the I20/59 park/green space placement plans.
The consultant Barge Waggoner Sumner and Cannon and their team of consultants including BRV (Biederman Redevelopment Ventures of Boston, MA) were to present plans for the future design and development of the public space/park which will run under the I20/59 overpass through downtown Birmingham.
The meeting was billed as a workshop-style program in which to gather community feedback and input. The only problem was, the meeting was to be held today at 2pm, and the location was not given in the invitation. After a number of calls to various city offices, none of whom knew anything about the meeting, I was finally able to ascertain the location of the meeting by means of a personal cell phone contact. Then after reworking my entire professional calendar for the afternoon, I was able to attend the meeting.
Upon arriving at the meeting, I learned that all neighborhood officers had been informed about the meeting in a similar fashion. Despite these insurmountable odds, about 4 to 6 neighborhood officers and a few other citizens/neighborhood activists, as well as a select few members of the media, arrived at the meeting. After the media was repeatedly told that this was not a public meeting, certain members of the media insisted that if being held by ALDOT and neighborhood officers were invited that it was in fact an open, public meeting to all. The media was then allowed sit in on the meeting.
At the start of the meeting, we were introduced to the consultants who were hired by ALDOT, and for the next hour, we were dazzled with slides of parks from all over the country that BRV had designed and built. Very few questions were answered and no clear plans were made to have further involvement and feedback from the greater Birmingham community.
So where do we go from here? I was in the meeting, and I couldn’t tell you.