If you do, your bejeebies will be obliterated when you see the one depressing statistic that best describes the economic health of metropolitan Birmingham.
Please note we’re nottalking about just the City of Birmingham or Jefferson County. We’re talking about the Birmingham Hoover Metropolitan area—defined by our seven counties: Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, and Walker.
So the folks in our suburbs are impacted by this number just as much as our local residents.
To compare Birmingham with no UAB to Anniston is an unfair exaggeration and I apologize to the good citizens of Anniston. I could have selected any mid-sized city, but I Googled “cities in Alabama” and Anniston came to the top alphabetically.
Visualize Birmingham without UAB. Exit the Red Mountain Expressway at University Avenue (without UAB–it would be 8th Avenue South) and drive west.
The article then quotes Johnny Johns, the then Chairman of the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA)…
“Johnny Johns, the Protective Life Corp. Chairman, president and CEO, gave a call of arms of sorts when he said this to 28 political, business and civic leaders who had gathered at The Birmingham News to discuss how to tackle metro Birmingham’s most pressing problems.”
The year was 2002. Dave Adkisson, the then Birmingham Chamber of Commerce President, and I were in St. Louis jogging early one morning when we struck up a conversation with a local runner.
He asked where we were from and why we were visiting St. Louis. We told him we were with a group of about 100 business leaders and politicians from Birmingham who had come to St. Louis to learn about his city’s successes.
Up until a few years ago, our Chamber of Commerce (currently BBA), organized a trip of community leaders and politicians to visit other cities. They were called the “BIG Trips,” and the purpose was to learn what works in other communities.
The Chamber over a seven year period visited St. Louis (2002), Baltimore (2003), Charlotte (2004), Nashville (2005), Pittsburgh (2006), Denver (2007, and Austin (2008).