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Birmingham announces project to renovate owner-occupied structures

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Homes along 2nd Avenue South in the process of deterrioation and restoration. The resurgence of several neighborhoods including Avondale with both residential and commercial properties. (Barton Perkins / The Birmingham Times)

Birmingham Office of Public Information

Mayor Randall Woodfin announced Wednesday a project to help repair owner-occupied structures in Birmingham.

The 100 Homes, 100 Days project will renovate owner-occupied structures throughout the city.

Through the Neighborhood Revitalization Fund, the city will partner with Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) to make the renovations. All homes must be owner-occupied structures in need of significant repair. Homeowners with limited income will be eligible.

“Our plan is to bundle our work to transform entire blocks instead of renovating one home on a street surrounded by other blight,” Woodfin said. “This reaffirms our commitment to giving all 99 neighborhoods a fresh start.”

“As additional economic development projects pay off in Birmingham, resources from those projects will be identified and committed to the fund,” the mayor said.

Early in his administration, Woodfin discussed establishing a Neighborhood Revitalization Fund to help address blight and improve the quality of life in the city’s 99 neighborhoods. The first funding for the Revitalization Fund is from Shipt and DC Blox.

Last week, both companies announced major investments in city development. The $1 million from Shipt is the result of the company buying a city-owned parking deck for its downtown location. The $600,000 from DC Blox is the result of the company buying city property to build a data center in Titusville. Both of these projects made it possible for the fund to start off with $1.6 million.

Woodfin said that $1.4 million of the $1.6 million will go toward renovating homes, and $200,000 will go toward demolishing dilapidated structures.

The initial investment to NHS is $1.4 million, which includes $1 million for 100 homes at $10,000 each. The remaining $400,000 of the $1.4 million will go to intake, applications, demolition and land bank acquisitions. The Mayor’s Office already has engaged the city council to finalize the process.

“We are very happy to partner strategically with the City of Birmingham to move forward with neighborhood revitalization,” Kelleigh Gamble of NHS said. “It’s important that the people we are helping actually own and occupy the home.’’

As more economic development investments are announced, additional funding will go toward the Neighborhood Revitalization Fund, which was was established earlier this year during passage of the city’s agreement to help fund the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex renovation and expansion project. An estimated $9.9 million in new revenue is expected to go into the fund, after the BJCC project is completed, each year.

Council President Valerie Abbott and City Council members Darrell O’Quinn, Sheila Tyson and John Hilliard attended Wednesday’s press conference in the Wahouma neighborhood. “It’s a great day in the City of Birmingham. I’m very proud to be a part of this initiative: To revitalize 100 homes in 100 days,’’ said O’Quinn. “This program is coming to a neighborhood near you.’’

“I have to take a moment to congratulate Mayor Woodfin,’’ O’Quinn added. “The critical repair grant process through the City of Birmingham has been wanting. We haven’t exactly been knocking down a whole lot of numbers in the past few years. So, to see this type of quantum leap forward is a major accomplishment.”

Interested applicants should contact NHS at 205-328-4292 or via email at neighborhoods@birminghamal.gov. Laborers interested in working on this endeavor should also contact NHS.