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Five Years Later: Success Continues to Peek Through the Aftermath of the April 27th Tornadoes

The year 2011 was a year that many families residing in the state of Alabama and the southeast will likely never forget. Only four months into a new year, a devastating tornado tore open the lives of communities that never anticipated its deadly wrath. Hundreds were injured and killed as the aftermath left ghost towns of once thriving communities. Pratt City, a notable community situated on Birmingham’s northwest region, took a huge hit surprisingly tearing down community staples such as the Pratt City Library and fire station #19. Five years later, a new Pratt City Library and state of the art fire station, and numerous housing rehabilitations are now situated throughout the community to show that this area is on the move once again. Birmingham City Councilor Marcus Lundy, Jr. has been resilient in his efforts to push economic revitalization in Pratt City and surrounding communities that experienced the historic disaster and he says that the new buildings represent the collective work that has been done to bring life back into the area.

“The economic development and revitalization in devastated communities hit by the April 27th tornadoes are no small matter to us as a council,” Councilor Lundy said. “We will continue to rebuild and rebound from this tragedy through our collective efforts with the Mayor and the community as a whole.”

Since the devastation that hit the area in 2011 the Birmingham City Council has approved a resolution that would amend the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Action Plan to submit to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This grant increases the activity of Special Economic Development through the allocation of funds for continual rebuilding efforts.

The Office of Community Development has worked diligently with various organizations and citizens who were directly and indirectly impacted by the natural disaster to provide information for grant funding opportunities and implement redevelopment plans for communities including urban renewal plans for Pratt City.

“It’s important that we have all updated facts as it relates to grant funding opportunities to ensure that we are helping our constituents take full advantage of the opportunities that exist,” Councilor Lundy added.

Recently, Birmingham City Councilors held a public hearing during council meeting and approved a resolution amending the Pratt Urban Renewal and Redevelopment Plan to include an expansion of the plan’s redevelopment boundary area and objectives to help implement the Plan for Pratt. This Urban Renewal plan is a part of major government-sponsored projects aimed at boosting economic activity in cities. In the United States, the process refers specifically to federally funded initiatives enabled through a series of laws that shaped the nation’s urban policies.

“We have to keep our citizens knowledgeable about every facet of this restoration process,” Councilor Lundy said. “That is the only way we can solidify their support of our leadership in maneuvering success from the final remnants of this aftermath.”

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.