Posted by: D. Wright
Now a day, it’s difficult to travel through downtown Birmingham and not see new buildings being built or renovations taking place. I live on the north side of town about five minutes from downtown. Therefore, I find myself traveling downtown quite often; if not to eat at one of the new restaurants, at least to go pay a bill.
Yesterday, on my way to the Paramount Restaurant to eat, I crossed 1st Avenue and20th Street. On the side of 20th Street, I saw a man performing construction work. I thought it odd for him to be working on a Sunday. However, I guessed the project was on a timetable and needed to be completed soon. As I stood and took a picture of him, I noticed he knocked a couple of windows out of a building. This lead me to assume he was doing a demolition job. Just around the corner from this building was another building in need
of repairs also. I noticed the building had a marquee on the outside of it. The marquee read “Empire Building”. Inside one of the widows was another sign advertising a new hotel which read, “Coming Summer 2016”. Being that it’s spring now, and summer is soon to follow, I doubt the building will be completed by this summer 2016. Maybe the owner of the Empire Building should get the construction company working on this building as well.
A block from 20th Street, I ran across the old Amtrak Train Station. It’s located on 19th Street and Morris Avenue. Construction work was also being done on this building. I was happy to see the city officials finally understood the importance of having a train station in this town.
Trains haven’t been a viable means of transportation in this area for years now. Maybe, we will get one of those new speed trains. I hear they can get you to your destination in half the time compared to the older models. I imagine it would be fun to take a train ride to neighboring cities. (But then again, why would anyone want to leave the wonderful city of Birmingham with all its new growth and new attractions.) One idea is that maybe the trains station is being constructed not for us to leave the city, but rather to bring people to our city. I sincerely hope this to be the case. It would be nice to meet new people with fresh ideas. Maybe, the train could get them here really fast.
As the prospect of new people arriving to visit this beautiful city is formed, let it be remembered there are many neighborhoods near the downtown area that need assistance to grow and flourish as bountifully as 20th street downtown. These communities have just as much, if not more historical significance as we see in the newly renovated buildings downtown. My community looks nothing like downtown, yet the history surrounding my community cannot be ignored. It would be ideal if the downtown extensions extended to the Legion Field area or even somewhere near Birmingham Southern College, After all, it’s all Birmingham.