Birmingham listening to community on 5 Points South revitalization plans

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — From ideas on improving parking to curbing panhandling, the 5 Points Alliance is asking neighbors for opinions as it looks to shape the future of the historic area.

Five Points South continues to be a popular destination for visitors looking to dine, shop, and enjoy Birmingham.

“If Alabama has anything like Time’s Square in New York, it’s Five Points South,” said Steve Alexander, board chair of the 5 Points Alliance.

The alliance is made up of neighbors, businesses, and faith groups. All are stakeholders in developing plans for what’s ahead for the area.

“The city of Birmingham is going to be developing plans for our neighborhood over the next several years and we want to be at that that table,” said Alexander.

Monday night, residents were able to ask questions and give input about issues that were important to them. Leaders are also asking folks to give input through a survey online.LINK: Click here to make your voice heard in the five points survey

Attendees brought up everything from a search to attract young professionals, ways to preserve historical properties, capping apartment buildings, and making it easier to park.

“We now have far more cars per residential lot than we did when these were built,” Liz Reed said.

Reed has lived in the area for more than 40 years. She said the streets are already narrow and space is limited. She doesn’t want to see sidewalks impacted because the sidewalks are one of the key features that make the area attractive and walk-able.

Alexander offered one possible solution.

“We need to do a better job of interacting with property owners who may have parking available and try to make it a friendlier place and do away with the booting and ticketing that seems to go on,” Alexander said.

As other neighborhoods like Avondale, Lakeview and the downtown district continue Birmingham’s revitalization, folks in Five Points are ready for big things too.

People visiting other areas told CBS 42 one reason they don’t frequent 5 points as often, is because of safety concerns.

“It’s not as well-lit of an area. Parking’s going to be an issue anywhere, but the fact that we dealt with when I was over there, is there’s a lot of panhandlers,” Seth Allen said.

To help ease concerns, leaders like Alexander would like to add a City Action Partnership. Property owners would have to pay a little extra for the security teams that already patrol parts of downtown.

It would require support from the neighborhood.

“The biggest thing they do is they patrol the area, they just move around a lot, they help people who have a dead battery, or a flat tire, or who are locked out of their car. They eliminate that person who is stuck on the side of the run from being a target,” said Alexander.

Over the next few months, the alliance will hold additional meetings and have a cleanup day.

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