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Councilman William Parker/Members of North Birmingham Visit Environmental Cleanup Area in South Carolina


Birmingham City Councilman William Parker last week led a delegation of North Birmingham residents, city officials, and partners from UAB and the Jefferson County Health Department on a fact finding expedition to Spartanburg, South Carolina.
While in Spartanburg, the group participated in informative workshops and toured revitalized areas that once experienced similar environmental issues as the North Birmingham community. Some communities in Spartanburg, like North Birmingham, have been designated Superfund sites by the Environmental Protection Agency. The coalition departed from City Hall on January 23 and returned on January 24.
During the workshops, the group met with representatives from the EPA, local Spartanburg officials and members of the Spartanburg community where they discussed economic and community development, healthcare and successful collaborations with local government.
On the second day of the visit, the group toured a new healthcare facility, collaborative housing developments and a new grocery store which are all part of the revitalization of the once desolate area.
“It is my hope that the experience will bring about some helpful ideas that we can bring back to the north Birmingham community,” said Parker, who represents District 4, which encompasses the North Birmingham, Fairmont, Collegeville and Harriman Park neighborhoods.
Councilwoman Sheila Tyson, who represents District 6, was also a part of the coalition and had visited the area previously. Councilor Parker toured the site in December with EPA officials.
The Spartanburg site experienced environmental and various health related issues during the 1990s. In the years since that time, the area has been rejuvenated using a combination of public and private partnerships, awareness campaigns, planning meetings, redevelopment and federal grants.
The redevelopment in Spartanburg is the same type of revitalization Councilor Parker, city leaders and the community would like to see replicated in north Birmingham.