Birmingham Park and Recreation Board
The Birmingham Park and Recreation Board is an administrative agency of the city of Birmingham charged with establishing park and recreation facilities and programs, hiring and supervising park workers, and entering into contracts and leases on behalf of the city. The Board was instituted by legislative act in 1923 and its five members, who must reside in the city, are appointed to four year terms by the Birmingham City Council. The director is Melvin Miller.
The park board operates 124 parks, recreation centers, swimming pools, and special landscaping areas throughout the city. Decisions and policies of the board are executed by the Executive Director, Melvin Miller, and his staff. Their offices are located inside Legion Field at 400 Graymont Avenue. Park board employees are hired under the Personnel Board of Jefferson County. All actual real estate is the property of the city.
- Maxine Herring Parker, president
- Ronald D. Mitchell, vice president
- Judge Brendette Brown Green
- Dr. Albert D. Herbert Jr
- Theodore L. Smith
2006 appointment controversy
In February 2006, the Birmingham City Council appointed three new members to the Park and Recreation Board. On March 1, the Board refused to allow the new members to take their seats, citing a lack of diversity in replacing Boyce Higgins, the only white member, with Brendette Brown Green, a black woman. The Board referred to its 1923 charter, stating it had the right to reject members appointed by the City Council. The three outgoing Board members vowed to stay until the City Council had more racial diversity in their appointments.
On April 4 the City Council offered a compromise in which Green and Theodore L. Smith would join the Board, replacing Frederick Love and Calvin Haynes; Higgins would be reappointed to serve another term until February 2007; and Ronald Mitchell's nomination would be withdrawn. The Board voted on April 19 to accept Green as a replacement for Love. The vote to accept Smith in place of Haynes was delayed briefly because Smith was not present at the meeting, but he was ultimately accepted as well.
As a result of the situation, the City Council has asked the Alabama legislature to abolish the rule allowing the Park and Recreation Board to refuse their appointments.
- "Park board won't let appointees take seats." (March 2, 2006). The Birmingham News.
- "Compromise OK'd on appointments to city park board." (April 5, 2006). The Birmingham News.
- "Council, park board end fight over picks." (April 20, 2006). The Birmingham News.
- Bryant, Joseph D. (January 29, 2007). "Parker pushes rules limiting Park Board power." The Birmingham News.