What a Difference 10 Years Makes

The year 2008 has been described as the Great Recession and the Financial Crisis. This was a time when our neighbors lost their jobs, friends lost their businesses, and our community faltered. It certainly was a year to forget. Looking back through the press clippings, it’s apparent we went through a real horror show. These are a few of the local news headlines from 2008- “Should Jeffco go Bankrupt?” “More Alabama Banks Deemed Unprofitable,” and “City Struggles to Attract Young Professionals.” One article stated, “Of Alabama’s 149 banks, 16.11% were unprofitable through the third quarter.” Things only got worse. Day after day, the news was bleak and hopeless.

Ten years later, in 2018, a different chord has been struck and the good times are rolling again. There are cranes all over the city, restaurants are consistently found with long waiting lines, and young professionals are flocking to the city center. Most economic indicators are strong. In the 2018 North American Construction Forecast, they stated that Birmingham should have a 13 percent growth increase this year. The city recently announced a new project for Birmingham, the new BJCC Stadium. The article states, “A major hurdle was crossed this week when the Birmingham City Council approved its share of funding for the $300 million project.” This was a highly debated project that I believe will ultimately be a good risk/reward wager. Furthermore, the largest sale of a Birmingham startup, in years, was highlighted in the BBJ article, “Why Shipt’s deal with Target is huge for Birmingham- and not just for the $550M.” It stated, the $550 million deal was largely cheered in Birmingham, where in just a few short years, Shipt has grown to become one of the Magic City’s fastest growing and most promising startups.

As a stakeholder in our community, I am proud of the progress Birmingham has made in the last 10 years. We have built Railroad Park and Rotary Trail, which rival any public space in the country, and are enjoyed by thousands each year. The same can be said for Regions Field, which has set attendance records for its league, and won awards for best minor league park. Innovation Depot is at full capacity and has created many strong businesses that are self-supported and growing. I predict that facility to be increasing its footprint soon. We have added Top Golf to the scene with a consistent, fully booked schedule. Thousands of people have moved downtown and are living in new developments, such as, Liv Parkside, Flats on 4th, The Waites and The Venue at the Ballpark. The jewel of the city, UAB, is thriving with the construction of the new Collat Business School, The Legacy Pavilion, renovated Kirklin Clinic and the new student rec center to name a few projects.

Birmingham’s future is unlimited. If we grow as a team, our reflection will be attractive to people from all over the world. There will be bumps and bruises ahead, but as in 2008, we will overcome them. Be proud of your city!

All headlines retrieved from BBJ.