ComebackTown is published by David Sher & Phyllis Neill to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.
Today’s guest blogger is Jeffrey Bayer. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.
On July 30, 2013, I posted a blog proposing we bring the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County together in some configuration to create a better model for governance for our metro area.
Never could I have been prepared for the OVERWHELMING positive response. I literally can’t leave my house without friends and strangers telling me that government consolidation could turn metro Birmingham around.
However, there is one common objection. “It’s a great idea, but there’s no way that will ever happen.”
Well, David Silverstein, my biz partner at Bayer Properties, and I are used to being told, ‘There’s no way that will ever happen.”
When David and I proposed the Summit development, we were met with unbending skepticism. And the City of Birmingham was told they were throwing money away by giving us incentives. Today, as you know, the City of Birmingham collects millions of dollars in tax revenues from our Summit property.
But that was nothing compared to the objections we heard when we proposed developing a piece of property along Highway 280 commonly referred to as the “Dirt Pile.” There were a group of well-meaning citizens in Mt. Brook that were having a stroke about it and the folks in Vestavia Hills were so upset, they sued to stop it. Now, I would wager that most every one of those people has bought something to eat at Whole Foods or Yogurt Mountain.
I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m bragging because I’m not. I only want to make the point that nothing is impossible if you are willing to see it through.
So how are we going to change our government structure? I really don’t know, but it can be done if the PEOPLE want it and are willing to be vocal.
How can we make our voices heard? I have received dozens of letters (people still do write letters and use the U.S. Post Office ) , calls , emails , and face to face comments , that have convinced me the person on the street desperately wants this change, and is prepared to work for it.
Little steps for little people is my motto.
Birmingham has the potential and is ready to go.
What little steps we can take together to move forward?
Jeffrey A. Bayer is President and CEO of Bayer Properties. Bayer Properties, developer of our very successful Summit Shopping Center, has grown from a local property management company to a national commercial real estate firm. Jeffrey’s a Birmingham native and a true Birmingham supporter.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham)), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).