City Council sets Birmingham neighborhood elections for March 30th

College Hills Entrance
College Hills Neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Birmingham’s 99 neighborhood associations will be holding officer elections on March 30th.

The Birmingham City Council agreed on this date at their February 23rd meeting after the city-wide election was postponed this past October because of COVID-19 concerns.

If you are interested in running for a Birmingham neighborhood officer position call 205-297-8192. The deadline to declare your candidacy is March 2nd. 

Community Engagement 

So, how does Birmingham’s vast network of neighborhood associations and communities work? A little history.

In 1974, the city of Birmingham adopted what is called the Citizens Participation Plan as part of the community development block grants program. 

The Plan is the city’s official community engagement system which guides our 99 neighborhoods and 23 communities. Most folks aren’t quite sure where their neighborhood begins or ends. Here is a handy master neighborhood/communities list via BhamWiki and the  Community Resource Services webpage.

Why It Matters

Enon Ridge Neighborhood
Enon Ridge Neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

District 5 City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, who previously served as President of the Crestwood North Neighborhood, provided Bham Now a tutorial about the importance of our neighborhood associations and the community leadership it fosters..

“No matter where you live in Birmingham, you live in a distinct neighborhood with defined political boundaries and you have elected leadership for that neighborhood association. It’s not a homeowner’s association. It’s an extension of municipal government, where we have elected representatives for each of those 99 neighborhoods – a president, vice president and secretary. Historically, each of those neighborhoods typically conduct a monthly meeting where residents of the community residents and other stakeholders gathered to interface with city government. Oftentimes, representatives from Public Works,  Birmingham’s Police Department, Birmingham Fire and Rescue, City Council, Birmingham Board of Education attend these meetings. It was a system that was set up to encourage and facilitate grassroots community organizing.”

From his perspective as a city councilor, O’Quinn sees Birmingham’s neighborhood associations and neighborhood officers as an extension of the Council’s “eyes and ears.” He ticked off a quick list for us:  

  • Neighborhood Associations keep track of what’s going on in real time at the neighborhood level.
  • They help organize neighborhood cleanups.
  • They help us connect to residents that may be in need of assistance in addressing an issue.
  • They bring zoning issues to our attention.

And that is just a sample.

Neighborhood Elections Are Coming

Arlington-West End
Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

To become a neighborhood officer you do have to meet some requirements such as attending a number of monthly neighborhood meetings. Since many neighborhood associations have been unable to meet this may be an issue in 2021. The matter was raised by Councilor Valerie Abbott, herself a former neighborhood President (Glen Iris) and was discussed briefly during the meeting.

Deadlines

If you are interested in running for an officer position in your neighborhood association you need to fill-out and turn in by March 2, 2021 a Declaration of Candidacy Qualification Form (the 2020 form will be accepted).If you have any questions about the process, please call 205-297-8192.

Default image
Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
Articles: 1804