Today’s guest columnists are John Hardin and Barry Smith.
It’s really quite unique!
Jefferson County is home to one of the neatest cities in America–a Mayberry-like town that enjoys incredible diversity and embraces that diversity.
Diverse, yet has one of the best, if not the best, school system in Alabama.
A community where homes fly off the market for over-market prices, and sidewalk-lined city streets are crowded with runners, bikers, and families walking to local restaurants and shops.
If you haven’t guessed it, we’re talking about Homewood.
Homewood has a rich history as one of the original over-the-mountain communities with its historic homes and neighborhoods, hidden cemeteries, and former farmsteads. But the City has always had a foot in the future leading the way as a diverse, inclusive community.
Incorporated in 1926, Homewood was formed through the combination of Edgewood, Grove Park, and the thriving African-American enclave of Rosedale. Hollywood joined three years later in 1929, and Oak Grove (now West Homewood) followed in 1955. With a small-town feel that some have described as Mayberry-like, with big city amenities, and a location making it convenient to downtown Birmingham, Homewood has a whole lot that makes it special.
Homewood School System best in state
Established in 1970, Homewood City Schools—including Edgewood Elementary School, Hall-Kent Elementary School, Shades Cahaba Elementary School, Homewood Middle School, and Homewood High School—is a major driver in the city’s success.
The system has long topped lists of the state’s best with Niche.com. This year, Niche.com name Homewood as the top system in the state.
In recent years, the city partnered with the schools on a $55-million construction and expansion project that touched every school in the system and included a wholesale renovation of the high school. Recognizing the systems’ value in the continued growth of Homewood, the city annually contributes tens of millions of dollars to support the schools. The great Homewood schools also help drive a thriving residential market.
In addition to the school construction, Homewood also invested $55 million in new park facilities including construction of a new pool, new gymnasium, new multiuse turf mega-field, and renovated sports fields at West Homewood Park. The city offers numerous recreational sports activities, from basketball and baseball leagues to flag football to swim teams to cheerleading. The Homewood Public Library, which draws people from all over the metro area, also recently underwent an expansion and construction project to enhance the services provided by the Four-Star rated library.
One of the safest cities in Alabama
Realizing that the people who work for the city have a big part in the city’s success, we are thankful for our over 500 outstanding city employees who help make Homewood a special place. The Homewood Police Department and Homewood Fire Department, led by Police Chief Tim Ross and Fire Chief Nick Hill, work tirelessly to make Homewood one of the safest cities around.
The city also invested in a new, state-of-the art public safety facility that opened last year in West Homewood.
The City Council, made up of 11 people who care deeply about Homewood, are dedicated to supporting employees and residents with strong fiscal policies to ensure the city’s long-term success. Different from many cities our size, we have a mid-year financial review to confirm we are on the right track, and we maintain a rainy-day fund with a current balance in excess of $11 million.
Homewood is also home to a diverse business community with everything from small mom-and-pop shops to industry to manufacturing and everything in between. With a plethora of shopping, dining, and a unique and central downtown, Homewood has become a destination for people from across the metro area and beyond.
Homewood truly has something for everyone, and that makes Homewood something to celebrate.
John Hardin is a Homewood City Councilor representing Ward 5. In his “other” job, John has been in the commercial real estate business in Birmingham for 30 years.
Barry Smith is a Homewood City Councilor representing Ward 4. In her “other” job, Barry has been in the publishing industry for 25 years.
David Sher is the founder and publisher of ComebackTown. 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 region.. email@example.com.