New 10,000 sq.ft. mural along with Sunrise Rotary Plaza opening on Hugh Kaul Trail before The World Games (PHOTOS)

Work in progress on th Freshwater Land Trust Mural off the Hugh Kaul Trail. (Bham Now) (Bham Now)

Two major public art installations along the newly opened Hugh Kaul Trail are scheduled to premiere before The World Games 2022 in Birmingham.

Last week, while  Freshwater Land Trust officially christened the new trail, we couldn’t help but notice the work being done on the portion of the path behind the M2 building near the Ghost Train Taproom. 

Here is what we discovered.

Sunrise Rotary Plaza

Map of the the Sunrise Rotary Plaza Rendering. (Jacob Blankenship/Bham Now)

Bham Now first published a story about the Sunrise Rotary Plaza back in September 2021. Back then, it was dirt and weeds. In the coming months, it will become a Magic City landmark. 

The plaza sits in the same space where a rail yard roundhouse used to turn around early steam locomotives. The shape of the plaza echoes the shape of the roundhouse and also the shape of the Birmingham Sunrise Rotary logo. There will be benches and tables built into the plaza, making a nice resting place along the trail.  

Sunrise Rotary
Rendering of the Sunrise Rotary Trail on Hugh Kaul Trail. (Sunrise Rotary)

In the center of the plaza will be a large sculpture. The Rotarians have commissioned local artist DeeDee Morrison to produce it. To keep everyone in suspense, the group is keeping both the sculpture and its name under wraps until they unveil it before The World Games. 

Donations Still Accepted

The group is still taking donations in support of the plaza. As a way of thanking donors, Sunrise Rotary will etch into a sign the names of those who donate $1,000 or more. The deadline to get on the sign is April 29th. You can easily donate by going to their website.

10,000 Square Foot Mural

Work on th Freshwater Land Trust Mural off the Hugh Kaul Trail. (Bham Now)

In addition to the plaza, one of Birmingham’s largest murals ever is presently being painted on the back of the  Lee-Rodger’s Tire building. 

“As part of our organization’s ongoing collaborative efforts as we continue to build out the Red Rock Trail System, Freshwater Land Trust commissioned the large mural on the back of the Lee-Rodgers Tire Co.’s building as our gift to the City of Birmingham for Earth Day and The World Games,” said Rusha Smith, Executive Director of the Freshwater Land Trust.  “The mural will depict many of the activities that users can engage in on the trail system and, along with the Sunrise Rotary Plaza, should become a true destination for residents and visitors.”

Rendering of the Freshwater Mural on the Lee-Rodgers Tire Company Building.

Celebrating their 100th year in Birmingham, Lee-Rodgers Tire Co. is proud to contribute to Avondale and Birmingham’s renaissance.

“The area has been improving so much, it’s totally different than it was even 10 or 15 years ago,” added Lee-Rodgers co-owner Stephen Rodgers.  “Considering the back of our wall was nothing but a big, massive gray cinder block—to be able to allow them to paint this mural out there, to make the place look prettier and reflect things done on the trail, I’m sure the trail is gonna be a welcome addition to Birmingham.”

Fitz Murals (Jacob Blankenship/Bham Now)

If the weather cooperates, the massive mural by Fitz Murals will be done by The World Games.

Meanwhile, feel free to check out both the plaza and mural. The M2 building is at 3501 1st Ave S, 35222.  Walk and bike the trail. And while you are there, raise a glass at the Ghost Train Taproom to the one of Birmingham newest “It” places.

Pat Byington
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.

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