Parts of downtown will get a little more colorful as part of an effort to bring a unique identity several blocks around Railroad Park.
REV Birmingham, Children’s of Alabama, UAB, Alabama Power and the city of Birmingham are partnering on a project to make Parkside a neighborhood as defined as Avondale or Southside.
“It’s important to flesh that out and develop it so people can identify it,” REV CEO David Fleming said.
Parkside – defined as the rectangle of 13th Street South, 4th Avenue South, 20th Street south and the Railroad corridor – has seen millions of dollars in private development in recent years, from apartments to Alabama Power’sPowell Avenue Steam Plant to Regions Field. These groups want to harness the growth to make the area its own destination.
The first of these identifiers to go up are signs with the new Parkside logo. The logo’s lines are meant to look like lines on a map, encouraging people to walk and explore the pedestrian area, Fleming said.
“The theme of walking and moving through the city on your feet has become a recurring theme,” Fleming said. “It’s meant to emphasize the theme of exploring the city.”
The groups got final approval from the Birmingham Design Review Committee on Wednesday and signs should start going up before the first Barons game, Fleming said, and the first phase should be complete by June.
Banners, monument signs and crosswalks featuring the Parkside logo will go up first, but eventually REV hopes it will partner with private businesses to do things like display their street numbers in the branded font or put up branded neon signs.
The initial budget for the implementation is around $60,000 and REV hopes to raise more, Fleming said.
By the summer there will be a website designed specifically for Parkside, Fleming said.
Down the road, the district could at some point have interactive digital kiosks to help people find their way around and know what’s in the district.
“We’re also thinking of other ways of programming, maybe giving out T-shirts at a Barons game – we have those kinds of marketing plans,” Fleming said.