Norwood Resource Center
The Norwood Resource Center is a community facility that was located in the Robert Nygren residence at 1501 27th Street North in Norwood from its opening in 2009 until the house was damaged by apparent arson in 2015.
The resource center is headed by Brian Gunn, who succeeded Mélodie Echols in October 2018. It assists homeowners with restoring and maintaining the neighborhood's historic architecture. It also offers internet access, health and financial counseling, tax preparation assistance and other programs for residents. The center is a hub for neighborhood association meetings, social gatherings, informational "town hall" meetings, and community rallies.
The idea for establishing such a center began when neighborhood vice-president Robert Gilmore saw similar centers operating in Little Rock, Arkansas during a Neighborhoods USA conference in 1996. Long-time resident and valued neighbor Robert Nygren died while receiving in-home hospice care from Carraway Hospital in 1998. His daughter Deborah approached the hospital about donating the house for their hospice care program, but they could not assure her that they wouldn't sell or demolish the structure. After meeting with Gilmore she decided, instead, to turn the property over to the Norwood Neighborhood Association. Gilmore and neighborhood president David Green founded the non-profit Team Norwood 2000 with discretionary funding provided by then-councilman William Bell. The group joined with St Luke's Episcopal Church to raise money to refurbish the house, which planned to host its "Preschool Partners" meetings at the center. McWane Pipe and Crisis Center also joined in the efforts, and the renovated center opened in 2005. The center was officially incorporated in 2009.
The center operates Norwood Learning Gardens, a system of leased community garden plots which won a $25,000 Community Health and Innovation Award from the One Great Community council in 2012. In 2010 the Norwood Resource Center partnered with Main Street Birmingham to organize a "Norwood Market at the Trolley Stop" selling produce from the learning gardens as well as hosting crafters and rummage dealers.
On the evening of October 13 the house was heavily damaged by one of three fires that broke out within a few blocks of each other. The fire started on the back deck of the house and resulted in the collapse of the roof.
- Bruce, Bri (January 2, 2014) "A Community House". Weld for Birmingham
- Robinson, Carol (October 14, 2015) "Community center 1 of 3 overnight suspicious fires in Birmingham's Norwood." The Birmingham News
- Rebman, Stephanie (October 3, 2018) "Norwood community gets boost with new nonprofit hire." Birmingham Business Journal
- Gunter, Linda (November 16, 2022) "Carmen Capo-Lugo Named Winner of UAB’s Odessa Woolfolk Award." The Birmingham Times