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$25 Million Redevelopment of Ensley to Compliment $40 Million Ramsay McCormack Public Safety Complex

Media Advisory
April Odom

$25 Million Redevelopment of Ensley to Compliment $40 Million Ramsay McCormack Public Safety Complex

WHAT:​​Tour of Downtown Ensley Development Site

WHEN:Wednesday, August 2nd at 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: ​​1721 Avenue E (corner of 18th Street and Avenue E)

WHO:​​Mayor William Bell/ Bethel-Ensley Action Task, Inc (BEAT), Walter Hood 

Mayor William Bell and representatives from Bethel-Ensley Action Task, Inc. (BEAT), a community-based not-for-profit development group located in the western, Ensley neighborhood of Birmingham, haveannounced a tour of downtown Ensley with world-renowned landscape architect Walter Hood of Hood Design Studios and UC Berkley College of Environmental Design on Wednesday, August 2nd at 4:30 p.m. at 1721 Avenue E (corner of 18th Street and Avenue E).  The tour will be the initial step in Mr. Hood designing a new interactive park in Downtown Ensley to compliment the City of Birmingham’s plans to build new $40 million public safety municipal center in the Ensley Business District.

The new Ensley Junction Park is part of a $25 million redevelopment plan being executed by BEAT to reinvent Downtown Ensley as a mixed-use, residential and commercial center for Western Birmingham.  Thenew park will be one full city block in size and abut the planned City of Birmingham municipal courts and public safety complex.  Also included in the BEAT revitalization plan: a new mixed-use building that will include 48 units of mixed-rate rental housing and over 17,000 square feet of new Class-A commercial space; a redeveloped Jefferson County Western Health building for health service delivery, youth educational programming and a minority business incubator.

Walter Hood, artist, designer, and educator, is the Creative Director and Founder of Hood Design Studio in Oakland, California. He is also a Professor, and former Chair, of the University of California Berkeley School of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design.  Hood Design Studio, founded in 1992, engages landscape, urban site design and planning, art installations, and research, unveiling the emergent beauty, strangeness, subjectivity, and idiosyncrasies of place. Studio recognition includes the 2003 ASLA National Award of Honor for the Baldwin Hills Master Plan in Los Angeles, 2004 APWA Distinguished Project of the Year for Oakland, California’s Splashpad Park, the 2009 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and the 2011 AIA Award for Collaborative Achievement and Prof. Hood was a recipient of the 2017 Arts and Letters Architecture Award.  Prof. Hood and his work have been featured in publications including Dwell, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fast Company, Architectural Digest, and Landscape Architecture Magazine.

According to Mayor Bell: “Ensley and Western Birmingham deserve the best and Walter Hood is the best.  We expect an amazing new park design that will ultimately be the heart of a new, revitalized Ensley.”

BEAT Board President Larry Searcy agrees: “This is a park that will be for the people of Western Birmingham, designed through their input and operated for their enjoyment.  It will be a “Railroad Park” for Western Birmingham.”


Development of the new Ensley Junction Park will be a joint-development between the City of Birmingham and BEAT. Post-development, the City of Birmingham will operate the park for three-years, after which time BEAT will assume all maintenance and operating costs. The ability to relieve the City of future operating expenses is part of BEAT’s Sustainable Community Redevelopment approach.

BEAT was started in the spring of 1991 by Bethel A.M.E. Church with a mission dedicated to raising the quality of life for the residents of Ensley and its surrounding communities.  Recognizing that the church’s role did not stop at its front door, BEAT pastor Rev. Ronald E. Nored, Sr. and church leader Clarence L. Brown began outreach to the immediate neighborhood of Sandy Bottom, now called Sandy Vista.   Since their initial outreach and development efforts, BEAT has built nearly 60 new homes, a new public park, a community center, provided direct services for Ensley’s seniors and youth, and facilitated the installation of more than $2 million of new infrastructure in Sandy Vista.