I’m currently binge-watching The Walking Dead.”—the TV series about a small band of survivors struggling to live day to day in an apocalyptic world overrun by flesh-eating zombies.
The survivors are strong-willed, tenacious—and optimistic. The zombies are vicious, unrelenting and intent on destroying all that is good.
Many of us feel Birmingham has the potential to be a great Southern city. Since Birmingham has struggled for so many years—let’s call us the ‘optimists.’
We fight the incessant naysayers who are intent on destroying our city—the ‘zombies.’
“I’m glad Mr. Sher does not fear working downtown. I do and it has nothing to do with perception but with facts. I worked in a building with nothing around it but other empty 10 to 15 story floor buildings. When the banks got robbed which was often we were put on lockdown until police said we could come out. When you walked to lunch people were constantly asking and begging for money so me and my coworkers all started bringing our lunch. When the criminals started hitting people over the head with bricks in the parking lot, we moved our business out. I have no desire to go back.”
Zombies sure have a vivid imagination.
I’ve spent much of my life downtown and I’ve never personally seen or been a victim of crime. Unfortunately there are some folks who believe these crazy-hallucinatory comments.
Birmingham has always had more than its fair share of local critics. We’ll call these critics ‘zombies’ and their comments ‘zombie-isms.’ Here are some ‘zombie-isms’ we’ve heard over the past few years…
“No one will ever live downtown.” (4,000 people live downtown with 2,000 residential units on the way)
“No one’s going to go to Railroad Park–it will be too dangerous.” (600,000 visitors last year–nationally recognized)
“It won’t be safe to bring our children to Regions Field.” (attendance 437,612 last year–higher this year–and well over 1 million since opening; selected as best AA park in America)
“An entertainment district north of downtown?—you’re crazy.” (Uptown–$25 million in sales last year)
“World Games—waste of time and money to bid.” (We won the bid for 2021–estimated: 4,000 athletes; over 100 countries; 900 credentialed media members, 100,000 unique visitors)
This is a tough time to be a zombie in Birmingham.
Us optimists are winning.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12, a division of Intermark Group, and co-CEO of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).