Nearly two years in the making, the city of Birmingham has unveiled a proposed comprehensive plan that addresses all areas of development in the Magic City over the next 20 years.
The Birmingham Comprehensive Plan addresses issues such as transportation, community development, economic development, housing, environment, parks and land use. The plan is being considered a strategic framework to guide future administrative, legislative and financial decisions to improve the city of Birmingham.
“The 2012 City of Birmingham Comprehensive Plan puts the city on a new strategic path for the 21st century towards a renaissance of city neighborhoods, a strong economy with more jobs, and more opportunity and quality of life for all,” the plan’s executive summary reads.
“It’s basically our guide, our road map to the future of Birmingham,” said Tom Magee, chief planner for the city of Birmingham.
A copy of the plan can be viewed here.
Copies of the plan can also be viewed at libraries in Avondale, Central, Eastwood, East Ensley, East Lake, Five Points West, North Birmingham, Springville Road and West End, as well as in the city planning offices on the fifth floor of City Hall. The public has been invited to leave comments on the plan via email through the plan’s website or on comment sheets at one of the libraries. The city is accepting comments through the month of March.
The Birmingham Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing April 4 at 6 p.m. in the third-floor City Hall Council chambers, 710 20th Street North. If the commission approves the plan, it will go before the City Council for a vote.
It’s the city’s first comprehensive plan since 1961, and it’s first to involve the community. The plan was developed over the past 20 months through a series of community meetings, open houses, public forums and small group sessions to determine from those who live work and own businesses in Birmingham the major concerns and issues facing the city. Nearly 2,300 people were involved in discussions during the formulation of the plan.
The drafted plan offers 10 “game-changing strategies” for the city’s future. Those strategies include:
- preparing students and workers for the 21st century through high quality career education and a coordinated workforce development system;
- strengthening and promoting Birmingham’s entrepreneurial ecosystem;
- creating transit-ready urban villages;
- investing in complete streets, marked bicycle routes and well maintained parks;
- creating a Downtown Connections Plan to link all attractions and neighborhoods in downtown, and
- accelerating through a city redevelopment authority and land bank and a comprehensive property information system.
The plan includes a detailed implementation strategy which sets specific actions to take to reach the overall goals outlined in the comprehensive document. Some of the implementation strategies will be short term, some will be long term, Magee said. “It’s a 20-year plan. Everything in the plan can’t be accomplished right away.”
Magee also said that for the plan to work, all segments of the community will have to buy into it. “It’s got to be a buy-in not just from government but from private citizens, businesses, civic leaders, neighborhood leaders, and the corporate community. They’ve got to buy-in and say ‘This is how we want to grow. This is how we want to go in the next 20 years in Birmingham.”
The plan calls for a Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, which will consist of citizens who act as stewards to make sure the plan is moving through the process of implementation. Annual public hearings will be held to monitor progress of the plan.
“The plan will be used in capital improvement planning, work plans, and to guide land use decision making,” an executive summary states. “Partnerships with residents, businesses, medical and educational institutions and nonprofits will be critical to success.”