Press Releases

The Wait Is Over: Birmingham’s Rotary Trail Will Open Today

Green spaces drive the power of true outdoor fun. Many environmentally friendly eco spaces are thriving in Birmingham communities especially in area parks with hopes to transform an age-old nostalgia of recreational community building. Well wait no more, the design is set and the new attractive landscape, also known as the Rotary Trail, conveniently located in downtown Birmingham, is the new connector of many parks and communities over the entire Birmingham region and will ultimately invite a new sense of energy and fun for families to enjoy.

The Rotary sign and the plaza at 20th Street North and 1st Street South plaza will officially light up tonight following a ribbon cutting and toast at 6:45 p.m. and guests are invited to walk the trail before it closes at 8:00 p.m. for construction work. Devout Rotary Club Member Cheryl Morgan, Co-Chair to Bill Jones who serves as Chair on the Rotary Trail Committee, collaborated with a number of “Rotarians” on exploration projects for years before finally developing the concept of giving back to Birmingham a fundamental economic development tool that would also serve as a stellar amenity to the green spaces and parks infrastructure.

“We’re the largest rotary club in the world and in 2013 we celebrated our 100th Anniversary and we decided this would be the centennial project for Birmingham’s downtown rotary,” Morgan said. “The Rotary Club was looking for a plan that would be transformational and would be a legacy gift to the City of Birmingham. There were many ideas that were proposed to the committee, but this project, which was presented by Freshwater Landtrust, was a piece of the larger trail system that is developing in our communities.”

The City of Birmingham used grant money to fund drainage work, the initial preparation needed for development of the greenway. Rotary then provided $3.5 million for the capital improvements: landscaping, furnishings, ramps, stairwells railings and more.

“We wanted to have a place that was embedded in that concept of connecting people across our entire communities. Plus, this would be taking an eyesore and transforming it into an oasis in the heart of our city,” Morgan said. “We believe trails are so beneficial on so many fronts. If you can get people out and participating with nature and out and walking, it has incredible health benefits and community building benefits as well. We think this transformation of this four blocks of blight is something that is extraordinarily beautiful that will have economic benefits for the whole downtown and for years to come.”

Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin said he’s looking forward to the lighting of the trail and looks forward to more trails and park renovations that will continue to connect Birmingham.

“There are endless opportunities for green spaces and trails to serve as the new catalyst for great parks and overall recreational features in our communities,” Council President Austin said. “This trail is symbolic of the unlimited potential that the Magic City is realizing. I look forward to taking part in all of the activities, especially the amphitheater. That’s a huge feat for our entertainment sector.”

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.