National publication embarrasses Birmingham

Railroad Park--One of many recent Birmingham successes
Railroad Park–One of many recent Birmingham successes

I love to read positive national stories about Birmingham…and there have been a lot of them lately.

So I couldn’t wait to read the article in City Lab titled, “How Birmingham thrived despite a county bankruptcy in Alabama’s largest city–a story of economic confidence in an unlikely place.

“A story of economic confidence in an unlikely place.”

Yes, the piece bragged about Birmingham.  It described how we’ve thrived since the Jefferson County’s bankruptcy.

But then the author hit us in the face with a pie…

This is how he described Birmingham after smothering us with compliments…


Each ding included a web link to reinforce his ugly comments about our City.

Birmingham on a roll

Birmingham is making remarkable progress.

It was totally unexpected and it’s been a sheer joy to experience.

Great things are happening at UAB, Southern Research Institute, and Innovation Depot.

We’re thrilled with Railroad Park, Regions Field, the Rotary Trail, the Lyric Theatre, Pizitz, and the Thomas Jefferson Hotel.  The good news just keeps coming.

But many of these developments, though appreciated, are cosmetic at best.

What’s next for Birmingham?

We’re doing the pretty stuff…the fun stuff.

But what about our difficult and complicated challenges?  The ones that aren’t fun.

We’re still not growing jobs in our metropolitan area like our Southern peer cities.

We will never reach our potential until we start working together as a community.

We have too many competing governments who think that the municipality next door is the enemy.

We remain segmented, quarrelsome and have no vision for our region.

Our younger generation’s not going to be satisfied with our mediocrity when we have the potential to be so much better.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is Co-Founder 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).

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4 thoughts on “National publication embarrasses Birmingham”

  1. *We hit ourselves in the face with a pie. Daily. If it isn’t some unreconstructed Confederate proving our need for education. it is some city officeholding pickpocket robbing us in the name of the community.

  2. * This is precisely the analysis I would have made after closely studying Birmingham for six years,  first as assistant managing editor and then as managing editor of the old and better version of The Birmingham News (pre-Alabama Media Group disaster). 

    I have said many times that I am glad to see some good things happening in Birmingham, but they have not approached touching what the real problems are at all.  Birmingham faces some deeply rooted problems and, while things like Railroad Park in the building renovations and more people living downtown are really nice  and make people feel better about the place, they do nothing to address the mess in the schools, the deep racial strife, the crime in the most troubled neighborhoods, the concentration of unspeakable poverty and the complete dysfunction you get when you have dozens of local governments all viewing civic life as us versus them. 

     Like I said, I’m glad to see some wins for Birmingham. But now it’s time to tackle the real issues.  Only then will you see real progress. 

  3.       I love your article and your concern for our city.  We are not from Bham but have been here 20 years and are not leaving.  Yes, I believe weare improving but still have far to go.  It is a great city, despite problems.  We are a hidden treasure.  I do agree our main problem is too many small towns with their own agenda.  Each area holding tight, and grabbing more for individual good.  When I see and hear about all the fighting/arguing in towns/areas, Im amazed.  It seems hopeless.  You are so right.  Before change can occur, each area needs to come together as a whole for the better of all.   Its poorer areas vs wealthier, black vs white, etc. We are from Indianapolis, IN and many years ago a non-profit, quasi governmental agency was established to bring the whole city together successfully.  It was the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee.  It was an arm of the Mayors office but included all sorts of businessmen/women/black/white/religious/secular, (all components of the city) etc.  came/worked together to heal/grow the city and develop a long range plan for whole city, bringing it all under what they called Unigov. It isnt perfect, but its now a destination on the map that has a much improved reputation as a large city.  I am sure you can find something about it on line.  Ill send you the link if I can find it.    It did so much to improve and grow the city to make it a destination place.    We saw great things happened when this occurred.  Birmingham needs a revial of sorts–economic, spiritual, physical and social.  Hope it happens.  Support what you are attempting to do.  Im sure u are not alone.

    Marvin and Linda Keffer

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