May 2012

News

Mayor Profile: Gary Ivey - City of Hoover

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  • Appointed Mayor of Hoover by a unanimous vote from the Hoover City Council
  • Former President of the Hoover City Council for seven years - Trustee of the Church of the Highlands
  • Has been a resident of Hoover for nearly 30 years
Mayor Ivey on improvements in the City of Hoover: To help improve traffic congestion, the City of Hoover has been working with ALDOT to pave Highway 31 and add an additional lane to each side of the road. Also, we recently added an additional turn lane on the I-459 overpass. We are working on the redevelopment of the Galleria, as well.

Hoover's Quality of Life: Adding more green space has been a major project for the City of Hoover during the past eight years, which is reflected in Veteran's Park, Moss Rock Preserve, and several other projects. The city of Hoover recently donated 99 acres to Moss Rock Preserve. More parks are being added and we recently built Loch Haven Dog Park, which has become very popular with our residents. Also, the establishment of the Senior Center gives the senior citizens of Hoover opportunity to have a place where they can come and enjoy one another. All of these projects add so much value to the quality of life in Hoover.


Mayor Ivey on future plans: We plan to add a new sports complex. Parks and recreation are very important to Hoover and its residents, and we have many young people that want to participate. We aim to continue to make Hoover the place where people want to raise their family.

Revolving Loan Fund Highlight - Adit4Less

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Adit4Less is a new digital advertising service specializing in producing portable and stationary digital advertising displays and are one of the newest participants in the RPCGB's account receivables lending program. Working out of the UAB Innovation Depot, Adit4Less has been serving the Birmingham Metropolitan area for seven months and has placed its digital displays throughout Birmingham in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, doctors offices, and other various businesses. Adit4Less focuses on promoting brand awareness by bridging social media and interaction through use of its digital and interactive display screens. Breaking through the clutter of everyday advertising strategies is no trouble for Adit4Less because of their eye-catching displays. "Adit4Less can bring awareness to any company seeking to educate the community about their products, services, or causes," said owner Julie Fritz. "We want our digital displays to be the bridge that connects these businesses with the people they serve."

For more information about the RPCGB's Revolving Loan Fund, visit the RPCGB website.

Elderly & Disabled Medicaid Waiver Program

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On a state-level, the Elderly and Disabled Medicaid Waiver Program was previously managed by both the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). However, earlier this year the transition started for ADSS to become the sole manager of this program for the state. As of May 1, 2012, the RPCGB became the sole administrator of the program for Jefferson County. The RPCGB hired five new case managers to serve the nearly 200 clients that transferred from ADPH. These clients will continue to receive waiver program services.

For more information on the Medicaid Program, visit our website or call (205) 623-3551.

Ozone Season in Effect

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May reminds us that summer is quickly approaching, which means it's officially ozone season. Birmingham is known for having relatively high rankings in particle and ozone pollution.

The highest ozone levels occur from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. from May to September. Data provided by JCDH states that Birmingham's air quality is steadily improving. Air quality affects everyone and everything. Help us keep Birmingham's sky blue!

To receive email updates on air quality alert days, signup for EnviroFlash and visit Alabama Partners for Clean Air to learn how you can improve our air quality.

West Homewood Sidewalk Project Success

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The RPCGB is working with the City of Homewood to update its current Transportation Master Plan to include a Pedestrian Plan.

The City set aside $900,000 from this year's budget to build 11,377 feet of new sidewalks."Our sidewalks are some of the oldest in the city," Councilman Peter Wright said, a representative of Ward 5 in the Hollywood section of Homewood. The RPCGB created a list of potential new sidewalks based on information from citizens requests as well as input from City staff and local officials. Council President Allyn Holladay said the Council hopes to leverage federal Safe Routes to School funds to build sidewalks closest to its elementary schools. "We used that as our guide in what to pick as a priority," Holladay said. Field reviews were performed at the locations and a draft list including cost estimates was presented to the City Council including a map of the potential new sidewalks. The Council reviewed the list of 45 recommended areas and selected 12 different locations to be constructed with the funds appropriated. "Everybody pretty much knew what their constituents wanted. I think everyone is pleased," Holladay said concerning Council Members' selection of new sidewalks within their wards.

Air Quality Expo

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Clean Energy Conference

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Hwy 280 to get New Traffic Signals

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For governments and nonprofit agencies within the six-county region, the RPCGB can assist you in applying for ADSS and ALDOT grants (namely Jobs Access Reverse Commute, New Freedom, 5310, and 5311). The RPCGB can also review completed grants prior to final submission and/or advise regarding compliance with the locally-adopted Human Services Coordinated Transportation Plan. Another way the RPCGB can help is by providing information on general transportation issues, including standard operating procedures, new ideas, national research, capital equipment purchases, performance measures, etc. For information, contact Laurel Land at 205-264-8473 or lland@rpcgb.org.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Residents of the Thomas neighborhood in western Birmingham for decades have complained about the single entrance into the area.

Second Street has the dubious distinction as the "one way in, one way out" for the neighborhood -- and also is crossed by railroad tracks.
Finally, a study just under way by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham could lead to improvements, including a much sought-after alternative route.

"We're going to look at a plan for the neighborhood, and a bridge may be one of those solutions," said Steve Ostaseski, a principal planner with RPC. "Everyone has their favorite solution, and that's one of the reasons for having a plan. Everyone gets to articulate their solution."

The plan will focus on options for new roads or a bridge, and sources to pay for those projects.

The RPC's early estimates for a bridge are $8.35 million, including engineering, land acquisition and construction.

Thomas neighborhood president Alonzo Darrow welcomed the study, calling access improvements an issue of both safety and development of the area.

"Mainly what we have are senior citizens, and at any time you might need some emergency service," Darrow said, noting the frequently train-blocked entrance. "People do not want to move in here because you've got one way in and one way out. You're going to work, and there's a train on the tracks."

Councilman Steven Hoyt said the study is the step needed to eventually get funding to improve the neighborhood.

"It's finally coming to fruition," said Hoyt, whose district includes the neighborhood. "This issue is a public safety issue. I don't think in this modern society we should be talking about things that happen in rural areas happening in the inner city."

Ostaseski said his agency is in the early stages of the project, gathering data.

"We need to understand the neighborhood as well as Mr. Darrow understands the neighborhood," he said. "If we don't understand the dynamic, then it's hard to understand what people are trying to tell us."

Ostaseski expects the project to take about eight months and be completed by the end of the year.

While Darrow prefers a new road over the bridge option, he remains open to any relief.

"Let's talk about the cost and what makes sense," he said. "I think it will happen, but we've all got to get on the same page about what we want to do."

Ostaseski said all options remain open as planners begin their evaluation.

"To go in there with a preconceived notion on any topic wouldn't be valid," he said. "The city is working on their comprehensive plan. That is the bigger picture, and this is pretty much nuts and bolts on the neighborhood level."

More than roads and bridges, the plan will also address other issues facing the neighborhood and suggestions to improve the area.
Once vehicle access improves, Ostaseski said, options for revitalization and development will increase.

RPC's neighborhood plan for Thomas will be a similar to a document completed in 2010 for Collegeville, a northern Birmingham neighborhood that also has a problem with access and railroads blocking major entrances.

Collegeville's neighborhood plan, drafted by RPC and the Birmingham Metropolitan Planning Organization, became a blueprint for several pending projects there, including a $12.3 million project to erect pedestrian and vehicle bridges in 2013 and 2014.

Hoyt hopes to use the Thomas plan as a starting point for similar results.

"The people in Thomas are really depending on the city to do something about this condition," he said. "Not only are we looking at the bridge component; we're also looking at housing, where there has been an impediment because of one way in, one way out."

Via AL.com