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Residents on the Picturesque, Charm, and Opportunities of Norwood

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Residents like Rashmee Sharif (above) fell in love with Norwood at first sight. She attended an Open House one week and had a house under contract the next. Sharif and her neighbors in this post share what they like most about one of Birmingham’s most diverse communities. (All photos by Justin Evans, Special to the Birmingham Times)

‘Diversity’

“In September of 2018, I attended an Open House in Norwood by happenstance and totally fell in love with the house I saw! By the following week, we were under contract. We loved our time in Norwood so much, that a year later, we moved my mother-in-law in seven doors down. My husband, Nadeem, and I enjoy living in Norwood due to its proximity to downtown and accessibility to other parts of the metro area. Going downtown rarely feels like an “event” because it’s so nearby.

Additionally, I cannot speak highly enough of all the incredibly friendly neighbors we have met during our time here. There’s truly a community atmosphere and it’s so wonderfully refreshing being a part of a community with such varied representation in background, profession, age, interests, and race. Our house in Norwood is very special to our family as it’s the first home our two young sons have ever known.” We look forward to many more happy memories in what we so proudly call our neighborhood: Norwood!

Rashmee Sharif, Project Manager

‘CommUNITY’

“Norwood is at the epicenter of all things Birmingham. It’s close to cultural activities downtown and a scooter ride over to restaurants in Uptown. My commute time to work is unrivaled at six minutes and my neighbors represent the promise of a bright Birmingham. I know my neighbors by name and many are involved in every facet of Birmingham’s renaissance. Norwood is the epitome of commUNITY. Ultimately, this is why I call Norwood home.”

Brian Gunn, Senior Account Manager

‘NEIGHBORhood’

“I chose Norwood two years ago to not only join the energy and excitement, but also to be a contributor. One thing I love here is that we emphasize the “neighbor” in ‘neighborhood.’ Everybody knows everybody and they speak when walking or driving past you. The neighborhood clean-ups, reviving the community garden, election days and other events have given me the chance to meet many of the people that make this place special. Everyday feels like ‘what exciting thing are we going to do next?’ and that’s a great feeling. Norwood is a historic place, but it’s best days are ahead, not behind.

Jermaine “FunnyMaine” Johnson, Entertainer/Change Agent/Entrepreneur  

‘Architecture’

“The neighborhood possesses many features: historic architecture, a serene walking trail, basketball/ tennis courts. But we have some wonderful neighbors who genuinely care about our neighborhood and help make Norwood home. What first brought us to the neighborhood was Norwood Boulevard. Who can say they have a whole park in their front yard? We can. Another plus is having the combination of being so close to downtown but yet a short drive to and from all the suburbs in Birmingham. Norwood’s longevity lies in the voice and stories of its residents. With this said, We enjoy being people of Norwood, and are glad to share a story within its book.”

Joseph Hollis, real estate broker; Brittany Hollis, marketing manager

‘Proximity’

Moving to Norwood was an easy decision for us. We have lived in inner city Bessemer for years and wanted to be closer to downtown.  My wife is a nurse at a local hospital and I’m a realtor covering Birmingham and surrounding areas. As our family grew with the birth of our second child, being closer to my wife’s job was a necessity. We liked the idea of being downtown and close to the restaurants, and many amenities because we like to go out. We were looking for that community atmosphere and Norwood had that.  It was nice to see neighbors out walking together, maintaining their yards (even competing) and decorating for the Holidays.  When we thought about the rich history of downtown Birmingham and all of the new businesses in development, it was a no brainer for us.  Norwood has that small-town feel to it.  We were fortunate enough to find a rehab home that fit our needs.

We basically got a brand new house, in an old historic neighborhood.  Since moving here we have come to know our neighbors and couldn’t ask for a nicer group of people to live around. Also, I’ve seen some of my friends buying in this neighborhood which is really cool! I think that the future Norwood is going to be a beacon for Birmingham at large!  All that I can say is, come to Norwood!!

Terry Mills, realtor and Tiquela Mills, nurse 

‘Friendliness’

I first learned of Norwood when my parents began doing remodels in the community. I was in the market to buy my first home and my parents impressed upon me the value and the potential of the neighborhood. The home I bought ended up being a remodel that my parents had done that I have now lived in for the past three years. My girlfriend and I love the friendliness of the neighborhood.

Norwood holds many annual events for the families and children of the community, which as a first-grade teacher has really made an impression on me. We love the location and how close everything is to our home. With North Birmingham growing and revitalizing, the Norwood community has become a great place for anyone to call it home.

Kimberly Carter, teacher and Ashleigh Bradley, assistant manager at T-Mobile

‘Charm’

I originally choose to live in Norwood because of the past history, future promises, and charm of the community. I originally moved to Norwood in 2014, after my previous business partner and friend introduced me to the idea of real estate, home ownership, and its importance. After visiting Norwood, I was intrigued and convinced that this would be a great place to live in Birmingham. What I thought would only be a short stint in the area turned into home, and true love for the community.

I unfortunately sold my first home in 2018, truly missing everything about Norwood: the people, the park, the peace, and the proximity to downtown. As time passed, a recent opportunity presented itself for me to come back to Norwood and fully craft the property that I will now call home. I am super excited to say I am back, and not only am I back, but I am back with more wisdom, capacity and jubilance to be a resource and catalyst in and for the community however I can.

Justin Sims, independent insurance adjuster, author, and investor

‘Picturesque’

I purchased a blighted house in Norwood five years ago when my wife and I were living in our first home in Avondale. Having lived downtown in Chicago, Newark, and Atlanta – I’ve become attracted to “downtown living”. Being close to all of our favorite restaurants and breweries, hanging out in the many of the parks in the City center, or taking an Uber to our local sports venues really allow us to live and replicate the city lifestyle I became used to.

I knew that although we really enjoyed Avondale- we would eventually outgrow our space and would need to eventually relocate; and I dreaded having to move my family to the suburbs…

Many of the homes in Norwood are very large and picturesque. The neighborhood features wide streets with stately homes thoughtfully placed throughout. It’s so quiet walking around in the neighborhood- you could actually forget you are walking distance from uptown. It’s a great neighborhood and the best of both worlds.

We have a few months left since we initially started renovating our new Norwood home last February and we can’t wait to finally move in.

Joel Gardner, AVP Community and Business Development, Renasant Bank & Angelica Gardner, Buyer, Honda Manufacturing 

‘Growth’

We moved into the Norwood community in 2011 and fell in love with the historical look and feel of the neighborhood. We were welcomed by the neighborhood president shortly after we they moved in and were very impressed with that simple act of kindness. Over the years, our love for the neighborhood has grown, as it is unlike any other place we have lived.

One example of what makes Norwood special is that the community has kept the tradition of caroling at Christmas, singing to the elderly that can’t get out, and by the yearly event of having “Santa in the Park” for the children of the neighborhood to come and get their picture taken with Santa and write him letters of the things they wish to find under the tree.

“Witnessing the growth of the neighborhood over the past few years has been amazing, even our daughter moved into the neighborhood just a few years ago. Norwood is so centrally located that it makes any commute easy and quick. My daughter moved here because it was a much easier commute to the elementary school where she teaches and I tell my real estate clients all the time that I can pretty much be anywhere in about 20 minutes or less.”

We love the location of our home, we love the people in our community, and we are excited to see the continued growth of such a wonderful place to live.

Rob and Shannon Malcom, realtors

‘Opportunities’

I moved to Norwood after college in 2018 because of the many opportunities I saw emerging from the area. Not only is the neighborhood within 10 minutes of all of my favorite places in Birmingham, but at the time Norwood also happened to provide what I saw as a clear path for growth.

Since moving here I have been able to watch both the neighborhood and all of the surrounding areas continue to build and thrive, but also I have been able to make special connections with many of my neighbors. The sense of community is like nothing that I have seen before. Moving to Norwood was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Jibreel Mose, Jr. Mortgage Banker, Renasant Bank

‘Convenience’

I was referred to Norwood in 2019 shortly after I relocated back to Birmingham from Los Angeles. I was blessed to meet several amazing people and quickly went into action to purchase within months of moving. I initially chose Norwood because of its proximity to everything; it’s centrally located and convenient to navigate the city. However, what I love best, are the people. From Mr. Gilmore, a neighborhood pillar of many decades to Ms. Barbara, the current neighborhood president – I’ve been able to connect with amazing souls who have become family and we really look out for one another. These relationships will stand the test of time and that’s been the biggest blessing as we partner together to make our neighborhood better and do life.

LaTisha “Tish” Fletcher, Founder, Fletcher + Reese a local CBD, health and wellness brand