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Rain or Shine, Residents in Ensley Gather to Revitalize Downtown, Showing that Ensley Is On Its Way Back!

Despite the dropping temperatures accompanied by consistent rainfall, Councilor Marcus Lundy stood strong with residents in Ensley this past weekend to showcase their support in transforming Downtown Ensley back into its old form. Revive Ensley was organized by REV Birmingham in partnership with organizations such as Kuumba Community Arts, Alabama State Council of the Arts, and Oasis Community Gardens. The goal of the project was to show the community that, with a little TLC and imagination, blighted properties in Downtown Ensley can inspire a love of jazz, educate youth about art and history, and contribute positively to Ensley’s ongoing renaissance. The event encouraged all Magic City “yay-sayers” to join in on these efforts by rolling up their sleeves to take part in the restoration of such a historic area.

“It’s one thing to complain about what Ensley used to be, it’s another thing to actually get out in the community and be the change that you want to see. Revive Ensley, did just that,” said Councilor Lundy. “It was so good to see that no matter the circumstances, whether it be rain or shine, we all came together to show how serious we are about renewing an area that has meant so much to the Ensley community.”

Volunteers worked tirelessly as they mopped floors, swept debris and dust, moved wooden risers and painted sectors of buildings that reflect a signature of Birmingham’s nostalgia. Councilor Lundy hopes that this project will ignite more participation from all those that share in envisioning a better Birmingham.

“Many people don’t know, but we are working towards developing a cinema house here in the old west precinct and courtroom. This effort will allow a new generation the opportunity to enjoy an activity that many of their parents and grandparents took part in,” Councilor Lundy said. “Our efforts to bring back old forms of entertainment won’t stop there. Just across the street in the old A.G. Callins and Associates building we are going to have our archive and jazz house where the community can enjoy live music and participate in the activities that Ensley is known for.”

Active youth volunteers from the community service organization Youth Serve were also on hand to help transform the age-old municipal facility that was clad with historic memorabilia and artifacts of Birmingham’s history. Councilor Lundy said these types of revitalization efforts afford Ensley residents, past and present, as well as Birmingham citizens who want to help shape the communities, an opportunity to have an actual hand in the progress of restoring a once thriving downtown Ensley.

“Ensley is on its way back and this is the beginning of the revitalization,” Councilor Lundy said. “Change starts with the community and now is the time for all yay-sayers that want to be a part of the change to come out and help us transform Ensley.”

This article is a contribution from Chiara Perry (chiara.perry@birminghamal.gov) in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office. For more information please contact 205.254.2294.