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Downtown Birmingham’s 20th Street officially revamped

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:45 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The six-month construction project on 20th Street in Downtown Birmingham is officially complete. A huge celebration on May 20 marked the grand opening of the refreshed streetscape.

Dozens of local and family-owned businesses in the area are expecting more foot-traffic and more business.

“We’re really excited that the street’s opening up,” said Andy Forstall, the Forstall event coordinator and social media manager. “It’s easier to access our store.”

“I think it’s going to bring a lot more foot traffic here, which is something we really need,” said Nicole Putman, an owner of Charm.

Construction began in October 2021 and caused some businesses in the area to lose customers.

“It was a little difficult at first because the sidewalks were closed, or people thought they were closed,” said Putman. “Parking was hard to find so it made it a little bit difficult.”

“During construction, REV kept us updated and tried to make disruptions minimal,” said Tom Saab, the owner of Bistro 218.

The completion of the project is expected to bring more foot-traffic with the new sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, new designs for bike and flex lanes, and new café-style public seating.

“This refresh of 20th street improves the quality of our lives,” said Saab.

“I think that bringing more of a community-feel to this area is really going to improve just Birmingham in general,” said Putman.

“Especially with the World Games coming up, we’re really excited to have a lot of street traffic,” said Forstall.

20th Street has been designated ‘World Games Boulevard.’ It’s home to seven of the 20 World Games sculptures that can be found across the city.

“Projects like this are essential for putting Birmingham’s best foot forward for new visitors like the many we are expecting for The World Games, and most importantly, for being our best selves for our residents and business community,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. “The people of Birmingham deserve these kinds of high-quality public spaces.”

In a press release, REV Birmingham said: The project, which includes five years of street maintenance and programming, is funded by proceeds of the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District. TIF funds are a portion of downtown property taxes that are set aside and, by law, can only be used to fund capital projects like this in the downtown district.

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