I hear these comments regularly…
“Good column, David, but I’m perplexed why you choose to live outside Birmingham.”
“If you love Birmingham so much, why don’t you move there?”
“Sher, you don’t live in Birmingham. Why should anyone pay attention to you?”
I grew up in Birmingham, but I’ve never kept it a secret that I currently live in Vestavia Hills.
This blog is not about the City of Birmingham. When I talk about “Birmingham,” I’m referring to metro Birmingham.
If I lived in Nashville, Jacksonville, Charlotte, or Louisville, I would already be living within the city limits. We’ve concocted this dysfunctional maze of everyone out for themselves municipalities.
The objective of ComebackTown is to begin a discussion on better government for our region. Vestavia Hills, just like Trussville, Homewood, Hoover, Fairfield, etc. are all located in the area we call Birmingham.
We define cities in metro Birmingham as black/white; rich/poor; educated/poorly educated. Mt. Brook is white, rich, and educated. Vestavia Hills is white, rich, educated. Cities like Birmingham or Fairfield are black, poor, and uneducated. Doesn’t seem fair or productive, and it should make us angry, but I think you would agree this is the perception of some.
We have a great quality of life, but we are unable to compete with our peer Southern cities. This costs us jobs and we’re losing our children and grandchildren to Austin, Dallas, Nashville, and Charlotte.
It’s plain dumb to think that if we want a better Birmingham, we should all have to move back into the “City.”
There are 200,000 people living in the City of Birmingham. There are 650,000 people in Jefferson County. It would be unrealistic to expect 450,000 people to sell their homes and call moving vans. I’m certainly not moving out of my house.
When you travel out of state and someone asks where you’re from, most of us answer “Birmingham.”
Folks out of state have never heard of Trussville, Homewood, or even Hoover and they don’t care about our nondescript cities.
We are defined by our home residence—and that, my friends, whether you like it or not, is Birmingham.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising Agency 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).