Blame it on...
Which cities (southern/southeastern cities only) have the made the best downtown turn-around within the past
I'll play Devil's Advocate here; just about every city in the Southeast has experienced incredible residential growth in their downtown areas. Look at places like Greenville and Columbia, SC. Those two cities, like B'ham, have also seen tremendous growth in the number of resturants and clubs in their central areas. Couple that with completed developments the likes of which Birmingham is still trying to complete (a major park in downtown Greenville, new arenas in Columbia & Greenville, a baseball stadium in Greenville); and it becomes kind of clear that not much has really happened in B'ham in the past ten years. I actually lived there back in the mid-'90's and IMO, downtown B'ham's really not that much different now, than then. Not to bash, but just my two cents.We're not even on the list? What's the deal? Especially since this poll allows for you to vote for multiple options............
Birmingham's downtown was a ghost town in 1997. People were afraid to go downtown, the Metropolitan Gardens housing projects were still up (and so was crime in the area); Phillips High school (located downtown) was gettting ready to close its doors, nobody lived downtown except for people who lived in the projects, I don't even think attractions like the McWane center existed 10 years ago.
Now you have dozens, if not hundreds, of loft units for sale. Everywhere you look some old industrial or office building downtown is being coverted to lofts or condominiums. People actually live downtown now, people actually walk around late at night walking their dogs, chatting on the sidewalk, etc. The Metropolitan Gardens housing projects have been replaced with HOPE VI housing development (mixed income housing). The amount of activity downtown overall is up. People are actually interested in coming downtown again, and things are only getting better.
What can we expect in the next 10 years? A new park (designed to be the Birmingham verison of New York's Central Park) which will link the downtown and Southside business districts, making excellent use of what is now empty, trashy land that has become a haven for homeless people, drug addicts, etc. Also, a new entertainment district in the heart of downtown which will add hundreds of new hotel rooms to the downtown area. This will complement the expansion of the convention center. Downtown is booming and is one of the few areas of the city actually making improvements but hey you have to start somewhere. We deserve to be on this list just as much as any other city.