ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.
Today’s guest blogger is Claire Parker. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.
It was the energy.
The energy we felt when we drove in to the city for dinner, music, theater, walking or picnics. That energy drew us in frequently, and ultimately we moved in to Avondale from the suburbs over a year ago.
It’s been everything we were looking for and much more.
Our house is on a busy street with sidewalks that we share with walkers, bikers, runners, strollers, dog walkers and skateboarders. Everybody has a front porch that they actually sit on.
It’s easy to ride bikes to Railroad Park, Pepper Place, Regions Field and McWane Science Center. Then there are the sounds – helicopters bringing people to the amazing care at UAB or Children’s of Alabama, train whistles, airplanes, and concerts at the park.
Our neighbors walk together to Silvertron, the library, church and Hot Box at Parkside. It takes three minutes to get to UAB for a basketball game. We volunteer with a reading program for Avondale Elementary, a school we can see from our front porch.
On a recent Saturday, I walked to Avondale Park and heard a wedding soloist in the amphitheater, saw boys and girls climbing on an antique fire truck at a birthday party and cheered for kids on a local baseball team.
Our fascinating neighbors include a terrific young Birmingham chef, political science professor, UAB research scientist, University of Alabama band director, psychiatrist, nutritionist, nurse, sculptor, painter, attorney and a bunch of adorable children. They are from New York, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Seattle, Ann Arbor and numerous small towns. They all chose this urban lifestyle in Birmingham.
People ask if we feel safe. Yes. I have never lived anywhere that neighbors took such great care of each other. Besides keeping an eye on our homes and streets, our community comes together for a monthly meeting at the library. The agenda covers good news, problems, developments, neighborhood events and ways to contribute to the community. The local fire and rescue, police, and our city council representative are there to inform and listen to us.
Avondale has been part of the Birmingham scene since the late 1800s. This new burst of energy in our city is not changing the character of Birmingham neighborhoods, just adding to their legacies.
So if I had to describe what our city lifestyle is like, I would say it in one word – real. Real community. Real people. Real life.
Living in the city definitely gives us a chance to make a difference in Birmingham. But to be clear, we did not move into Birmingham to do anyone a favor – just ourselves. I’m so glad we did.
Claire Parker is President of Parker Consulting Inc., a quantitative market research firm. Her business roots were in her family’s business, a retail furniture store in downtown Birmingham. She is a Birmingham native, and an Auburn University and UAB graduate. Facebook; LinkedIn
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David Sher is 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).