City Walk BHAM
Citywalk BHAM is a 31-acre public space being constructed beneath the newly-replaced I-59/20 downtown viaduct, between 15th Street North and 25th Street North in Birmingham's Fountain Heights, Druid Hills and Central City neighborhoods.
The use of the area for "public space" was negotiated between the Alabama Department of Transportation, the City of Birmingham, and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the primary source of funding for the interstate replacement project. The provision was made to offset the residences in Fountain Heights which were demolished for the new 11th Avenue North entrance ramp. It is planned for the area to be operated and maintained by the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
Biederman Redevelopment Ventures of New York was contracted by ALDOT to consult on programming and budgeting for construction, operations and maintenance of the proposed public space or park. Birmingham's Barge Design Solutions was commissioned to design the park space.
David Baker Architects was commissioned to design a visitors' center, to be located near the Birmingham Museum of Art, and three convenience stations along the corridor. Bids for construction were solicited in spring 2021. Brasfield & Gorrie was selected as contractor for the $34 million project, with an anticipated opening before the 2022 World Games.
ALDOT hosted a series of public meetings in July 2018 to generate suggestions for amenities that could be included in the park. Peter Karvonen has been cultivating support for a "world class" skate park. Mary Jean LaMay made suggestions for a velodrome and roller derby park. Another idea with significant public support was tailgating areas for UAB Blazers and the Birmingham Bowl at the nearby BJCC stadium. Planners expected to include a variety of small-scale amenities, including vendor spaces, fountains, and performance areas, as well.
In September 2019 ALDOT engineer DeJarvis Leonard confirmed that their plans included a skate park, along with a dog park, recreational areas, and signage for the city's Civil Rights District. At public meetings on September 24, ALDOT showed two large green spaces usable for recreation and tailgating, along with a skate park, dog park, pavilion, event space, and pop-up market or food hall.
The eventual master plan was divided into blocks, running west to east:
- Block A (15th to 16th Streets North): Artificial surface sports and recreation fields, challenge course, amphitheater, civil rights story zone, gathering space, and 1/4-mile walking trail
- Block B (16th to 18th Streets North): Roller skating rink, food trucks, activity zone, skate park
- Block C (18th to 19th Streets North): Performance space, outdoor classroom, parking
- Block D (19th Street to Richard Arrington Jr Boulevard North): Outdoor stage, central gathering space, garden path, water feature, restrooms, security office, information
- Block E (Richard Arrington Jr Boulevard to 22nd Street North): Market space
- Block F (22nd to 23rd Streets North): Beer and wine garden, garden path
- Block G (23rd to 24th Streets North): Dog park, pickleball courts, restrooms, and parking
- Block H (24th to 25th Streets North): Gateway pond, open green space, playground, restroom and pavilion
- Chambers, Jesse (July 18, 2018) "City, ALDOT, host open house for CityWalk BHAM linear park." Iron City Ink
- Pillion, Dennis (July 20, 2018) "Birmingham CityWalk under I-59/20 could bring skate park, bike races, beer garden." The Birmingham News
- Coker, Angel (September 5, 2019) "ALDOT says skate park will be part of new CityWalk project." Birmingham Business Journal
- Beahm, Anna (September 24, 2019) "Skate park, tailgating and more planned for park under I-59/20." The Birmingham News
- Coker, Angel (September 30, 2019) "First Look: Here's what's in store for CityWalk BHAM under the new interstate bridges." Birmingham Business Journal
- Songer, Joe (February 26, 2020) "Take a look at CityWalk BHAM before major construction starts." The Birmingham News
- Coker, Angel (November 25, 2020) "Where Birmingham transportation projects stand: I-59/20 bridges, CityWalk BHAM." Birmingham Business Journal
- Wexler, Landon (March 4, 2021) "Downtown Birmingham CityWalk project start date delayed, will be completed before World Games 2022." WHNT.com
- "Construction Commences on City Walk BHAM." (July 1, 2021) citywalkbham.com
- "$34 million City Walk BHAM bringing food, fun to Magic City in 2022." (July 10, 2021) Associated Press/The Birmingham News