REV Birmingham turns FIVE this month! To celebrate, we are looking back at some of the awesome things Birmingham has accomplished since 2012. We’ll be sharing five-year Birmingham flashbacks throughout the month of November – in our newsletter and on REV’s FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Stay tuned: We’ll share our business growth flashbacks in next week’s newsletter. We invite you to share your favorite memories on social media using #BHMflashback.   

REV works on the ground in urban commercial districts to organize merchants and spark private-public revitalization partnerships. We focus our work in seven districts, including the city center (which we covered last week). We have WAY too many #BHMflashback memories for our focus neighborhoods to tell each full story, so we’ve shortened them to brief bullet points below. If you’d like to know more, watch for our flashbacks on REV’s social media accounts!

  • 2012: Ever been to SocialVenture in Woodlawn? In 2012 REV began redeveloping the formerly-vacant warehouse as an office, meeting and co-working space, and since then, meetings held at SV have brought 17,000 people to visit and enjoy Woodlawn. It’s also the home of REV’s and Woodlawn Foundation’s offices; come see us!

  • 2013: Who could forget REVIVE 1.0 in October of 2013? The demonstration project in five commercial districts was designed to change perceptions about city neighborhoods by activating streets and storefronts and generating foot traffic. From 250 people at a pop-up in a vacant lot in Ensley to 2,500 people at Light Up The Lyric in the Theatre District, Birmingham turned out and showed their support each week for REV’s work to revive one block in each of these districts: East Lake, Ensley, Five Points South, Woodlawn and 3rd Avenue North in downtown. The streets were buzzing with vibrancy in the form of shops, signage, street life and most importantly, PEOPLE!

  • 2013: This is the year Anna Brown and Amber Tolbert launched their new community coffee shop concept in East Lake during REVIVE. Four years and a BIG PITCH win later, East 59 Vintage and Café is still serving East Lake – but from its brick and mortar in East Lake Station.

  • 2014: Ah, the year Woodlawn Street Market was established. At the first market, there were around 29 vendors. Today, The WSM has grown to 75 vendors on average and 4 annual markets, with no signs of slowing down!

  • 2014: REV’s Urban Food Project received a $100,000 grant from the Local Food Production Program to address barriers for Alabama farmers and local food businesses. As a result, UFP  generated $215,000 for 45 Alabama producers, delivered 170 tons of local produce, and created healthy food access for 21,000 residents in 8 low-income neighborhoods. A year of big impact!

  • 2014: Ensley’s Summer Jam presented by Councilor Marcus Lundy, born out of REVIVE the previous year, got its series start, running through 2017.

  • 2015: REVIVE 2.0 combined tangible public improvements with style and energy. In East Lake, Ensley and downtown Birmingham, REVIVE left behind new public art, enhanced curb appeal, and tools for continued community success.

  • 2015: REV began partnering with Five Points South to host Happy Hour Broker Tours, helping show off available spaces and attract businesses to add to the neighborhood’s vibrancy!

  • 2016-2017: Ensley Eats filled a culinary void in downtown Ensley by bringing in food trucks for a monthly lunchtime food truck gathering. Watch for the 2018 Ensley Eats schedule when warmer weather returns!

  • 2017: City Meats & Vegetables’ mural went up this spring in Woodlawn. This project involved significant community input about the artistic plans, which echoes one of REV’s guiding principles – “community leads.”

  • 2017: Throughout Clean and Clear Days in Five Points South this year, more than 100 volunteers have cleaned 2,720 feet of sidewalk and alley and collected 3,812 pounds of trash and debris!

  • 2017: East Lake had its very first Art Crawl this year on September 16th at East Lake Station. The neighborhood has had three more successful Art Crawls since, and is going strong!

If you believe that Birmingham is a better place to live, work and play than it was five years ago, and you believe that REV has been a part of that, please help us achieve our $50,000 anniversary campaign goal. No gift is too small; no matter the amount, we’ll put your donation to work for the city!

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