On my way to lunch to Surin at Five Points South I had to walk around an unconscious man sleeping across the sidewalk in front of Jim ‘N Nicks.
I looked up at the building across the street and saw a huge piece of graffiti scrawled near the top. (See photo)
In fact, there’s graffiti and trash all over Five Points South.
No wonder my family and friends generally prefer to avoid Five Points—which is truly ironic since we drive to Avondale—an area which historically has been perceived as dangerous.
ComebackTown published a piece four years ago; 5 Points South landlords must be dumb.
Immediately I was contacted by Five Points business owners and landlords saying they were ready to clean up the graffiti and do something about the perception of crime.
As best I can tell, there’s been little or no progress.
Five Points at a tipping point of being great
On Highland Avenue, Harbert Realty recently built a magnificent 17-story apartment complex with 318 units and a 500 space parking garage.
In the heart of Five Points at the edge of UAB on the site where “The Break” was located, construction is under way on the Ascend building –a 17-story, mixed-use student living community that will include 199 residential units and accommodate 522 residents.
I love Five Points–grew up nearby
I really love Five Points and spend a lot of time there.
I attended South Highland Elementary School; watched movies at the Five Points Movie Theater; got my hair cut at the Five Points Barber Shop; bowled at the 5 Points Bowling Alley and shopped at Woolworth Five-and-Dime. (Yes, the same building now occupied by The Woolworth.
CAP would transform Five Points
I’m an original Board Member and a past President of the City Action Partnership (CAP).
CAP is a non-profit organization funded by property owners to make sure specific districts of Birmingham are clean and safe.
You may recognize CAP Ambassadors as the men and women in blue shirts and caps who ride around downtown on bikes and Segways–and who are constantly cleaning the streets and sidewalks.
CAP Ambassadors give directions, jump dead batteries, air up flat tires, provide security escorts, rescue keys from locked vehicles, and remove graffiti. The service is free to the public–as the program is totally supported by the property owners in the district.
There’s no graffiti in the CAP District downtown. CAP ambassadors remove hundreds of pieces of graffiti day by day every month.
CAP has a full time Ambassador who works with the homeless.
While CAP can’t take total credit for our downtown renaissance, many people believe that CAP has created the environment that has allowed for the revival of downtown and midtown.
But the CAP District does not include Five Points South and its surrounding neighborhoods.
The Board of CAP with the support of REV Birmingham has made numerous attempts to include Five Points, but some property owners show no interest or are dragging their feet.
Yes, the property owners would have to pay an annual fee, but they would ultimately be more than compensated with increased property values and higher rents.
I’ve never met a single downtown property owner who would like to get rid of CAP to save a few dollars.
It’s been four years since the original ComebackTown article published.
Four long years…
Allow CAP to come in–clean up the area; remove the graffiti; and work with the homeless.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
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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).
Invite David to speak to your group for free about a better Birmingham. firstname.lastname@example.org