Jason Avery has been a Woodlawn resident for 18 years. The Philadelphia native chose Woodlawn because he was captivated by the diverse urban neighborhood and he knew it was full of potential.
Inspired to make a difference in his new home, Avery quickly became an active member of the neighborhood association—and still is. In 2017, he heard about a new way he could be a part of helping his community unlock more of its potential.
“One day, REV announced a community meeting to discuss the Urban Main Project and how the community could help, and I knew I had to go,” Avery said. “I was able to find a fantastic group of like-minded individuals who aimed to make Woodlawn the jewel east of I-65.”
A journey begun with that very meeting, Woodlawn Urban Main is a partnership of REV Birmingham and Woodlawn Foundation with planning support from Main Street Alabama and Main Street America.
Now, three Woodlawn Urban Main community facilitators work with REV to build up Woodlawn as a hub of equitable entrepreneurship and a vibrant neighborhood commercial district. Together, Alycia Levels-Moore, Bekah Fox, and Avery get to know the business owners of Woodlawn on a personal level. The team is a clearinghouse of information and resources to help business owners realize their dreams of starting, growing or repositioning their businesses.
Meet the (other) Woodlawn Facilitators
Alycia Levels-Moore wants to help her neighbors pursue their entrepreneurial dreams
Bekah Fox's love for community shines through Woodlawn Street Market
In his role with REV, Avery focuses on enhancing Woodlawn’s historic buildings and planning public art—things that breathe life and beauty into the Woodlawn landscape. And when you give him an inch, he figures out a way to make it into a mile. Avery’s artistic vision and creative problem solving have made for several successful projects already, including a façade refresh at the Shoppes of Wood Station (formerly The Shop) and the installation of Woodlawn banners throughout the business district.
Next up, Avery plans to launch the Woodlawn Toolbox—a place where equipment can be rented any day of the week, making it easier for business owners to keep their brick-and-mortars in tip-top shape. Plus, you can count on more façade refreshes for Woodlawn businesses and some new public art soon!
His hard work has not gone unnoticed. REV nominated Avery for Main Street Alabama’s Main Street Hero award and Excellence in Design award for the refreshment of the Shoppes at Wood Station – and he won both in 2019!
“For me, investing in my community is akin to investing in myself. With each new win, I win as well.”
– Jason Avery
Avery’s Urban Main position requires that he be a good listener, see multiple sides of an issue, and have a calm presence in every situation. Fortunately, 25 years in his “day job” at UAB has prepared him well. Avery is the Senior Director for an international clinical trial at UAB on carotid disease and stroke prevention.
“In my position, I am in direct contact with hundreds of people from all over the world, which requires a level of patience and flexibility when it comes to being relatable to anyone and everyone,” Avery said.
He hopes his energy inspires others to become involved and make their voices known as Woodlawn emerges. He believes that the work he puts into the community allows others to see that Woodlawn residents can be an active part of revitalization of their own community.
In the coming years, Avery wishes to see a vibrant community where all are welcome. He believes Woodlawn can continue on its way with thoughtful revitalization and not gentrification.
“I think the efforts of REV, the Woodlawn Foundation, YWCA and many organizations are leading the way in these efforts to make sure that everyone has a seat at the table,” Avery says.
Why your voice on historic preservation is essential
Filed Under: Front Page, Get Involved, Historic Preservation, Residential
President and CEO of REV Birmingham David Fleming writes about the importance of historic preservation and highlights the advocacy efforts that saved the French Quarter in New Orleans and the Forest Park neighborhood in Birmingham. The article concludes with a call to action, urging for new leaders and the implementation of various strategies to protect and celebrate Birmingham’s historic buildings and places.
It's show time at the Woodlawn Theater!
Filed Under: Filling Vacant Spaces, Front Page, Small Business, Woodlawn, Yaysayers
Lights, Camera, Action! The rebirth of the Woodlawn Theater is happening this weekend in the heart of Woodlawn. The theater is opening its doors to the public with two extraordinary opening events that are FREE to the public. The 1400 square foot venue has a wide range of amenities and even has a full-service bar. Because of the Mason Music Foundation, this venue is filling a much needed resource for local musicians to perform. Keep reading to discover how the theater came back to life and its impact on the community.
What Stallions cornerback, Brian Allen loves about Birmingham
Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Events, Front Page, Yaysayers
Brian Allen, a talented cornerback, has made the remarkable transition from a small town in Texas to the vibrant city of Birmingham. Choosing Birmingham for his football career for two consecutive seasons, Brian’s unwavering dedication and exceptional skills have made him a standout figure in the world of football. To dive deeper into Brian’s journey and discover his genuine appreciation for the city, watch this video with the link below!