Over the past couple of months, we’ve been talking a lot about our Value of Downtown Report. We’ve also been talking a lot about the construction we’re doing on 20th Street. But we haven’t really touched on how both of these projects go hand in hand.  

The general consensus of the Value of Downtown Report is that Downtown Birmingham is doing great. But downtown still has lots more opportunities to grow, so it’s important that we continue to invest in the city. We strongly believe that the work we are doing on 20th Street is going to be a huge step in the right direction! 

“To grow jobs, residents and visitors to downtown we must clearly reinvest in our public realm with projects like 20th Street Refresh.  People are attracted to well designed and well-maintained places.  If such places are not maintained then people make choices to invest or go elsewhere,” says REV President & CEO, David Fleming. 

As always, we are doing a great job but there’s always room for growth. Birmingham is currently in the emerging category (according to the IDA’s three-tiered system which labels downtown districts as either emerging, growing, or established), and our goal is to move into the growing category. To move into the next category, it’s important that we seize opportunities to strengthen our downtown. We need to work on increasing density and jobs – and improving the public realm creates a place where people want to live, work and play. 

Downtowns and center cities typically form the regional epicenter of culture, innovation, community, and commerce. An engaging downtown “creates the critical mass of activity that supports retail and restaurants, brings people together in social settings, makes streets feel safe, and encourages people to live and work downtown because of the extensive amenities.” 20th Street will be more vibrant and fun, attracting more people and spending and catalyzing more investment in the buildings around it! 

The authentic cultural offerings in downtown enhance its character, heritage, and beauty, and create a unique sense of place not easily replicated in other parts of the city. From an economic growth point of view, the 20th Street Refresh is critical to the overall success of Birmingham – it will give the city something to be proud of. As our city’s main street, all eyes are on it, and it’s our job to take care of it. We want it to be appealing to visitors. We want them to leave our city and already be planning their next visit. Or even better, we want them to start planning their move to the Magic City! 

We want our residents to be proud of the city they live in. We want our employees to be excited to make the commute downtown when they go into the office every day. As local residents of the city, we all know how much Birmingham means to each and every one of us. But it’s our responsibility to make it look that way to others – to let the world know that we take care of what’s important to us. 

So let’s continue to invest in the city that we are proud to call home. Let’s create more job opportunities downtown. Let’s build more hotels. And most of all, let’s create a downtown that we are proud of! 

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