Birmingham leaders announce development of $40M public safety municipal complex in Ensley

Published: Nov. 30, 2016 at 7:33 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2016 at 8:35 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham Mayor William Bell unveiled a $40 million public safety municipal complex to transform a strategic block in downtown Ensley.

"We have looked at several plans over the last several years but none of them really made the impact that this project will make for the community," Mayor Bell said.

The plan would create a public safety complex in the 500 block of 19th Street Ensley. It would call for the renovation of the historic, 10-story Ramsay-McCormack Building, new developments for Birmingham Police, Fire and Rescue, mixed-use retail and living space and a parking deck with green space.

The project would be anchored by the conversion of the Ramsey McCormick Building as the new home of the city's municipal court system. Additional phases would create a new police headquarters and a new fire and rescue headquarters.

"When you bring people back, people got to eat," Mayor Bell said. "People got to shop and all of that creates economic viability long missing in this community."

"Having something built that is modern and serves each department is what we need," Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper said.  "We need it and we're excited by the proposal."

The plan would utilize public and private funds previously identified for building new public safety facilities. Mayor Bell said his staff was currently creating the details to present to members of the Birmingham City Council.

In addition to the public safety complex, Bell said another $24 million investment could come from the Bethel Ensley Action Task, Inc., (BEAT) tasked to identify redevelopment.

The public safety complex could couple with a BEAT initiative to create green space, housing and retail on adjacent blocks.

"We have had the faith, now we get the dream," former neighborhood association president Magnolia Cook said.

"Business will be booming," nearby store owner Thaddeus Campbell said.

Mayor Bell said he expected to bring the plan up for vote before the council in the next couple of months.

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