Recently, REV Birmingham announced Re-vision Linn Park—a public and private partnership designed to remake and improve downtown Birmingham’s Linn Park with community input.
We spoke with David Fleming, the President and CEO of REV Birmingham, to learn about this exciting project.
What is Re-vision Linn Park?
Located in the municipal center of Birmingham, Linn Park is the city’s primary civic space. The park is bordered by Birmingham City Hall, the Jefferson County Courthouse, the Linn-Henley Research Library, the Boutwell Auditorium and the Birmingham Museum of Art. Over the years, the park has been renamed four times:
- Central Park
- Capitol Park, in hopes that the state capitol would be moved to Birmingham
- Woodrow Wilson Park, after then-president Woodrow Wilson
- Linn Park, after early Birmingham industrialist Charles Linn, who founded Birmingham’s first public park—Linn’s Park
“Since the founding of the city, Linn Park has played an important role in Birmingham. Over 150 years, the city evolved around this park and it ultimately became a place where so many civic spaces are located. Ultimately, we want to lead a process that gets the public thinking about what uses they’d like to see Linn Park be used for.”David Fleming, President and CEO, REV Birmingham
Recently, public and private partners have come together to lead a fresh vision for Birmingham’s historic park. Utilizing community input, this partnership aims to enhance Linn Park into a vibrant destination for Birmingham to come together.
The Steering Committee includes:
- Denise Gilmore, The Mayor’s Office of Social Justice and Racial Equity
- Graham Boettcher, Birmingham Museum of Art
- Temple Tutwiler & Stewart Dansby, The Friends of Linn Park
- Shonae Eddins-Bennett & Stanley Robinson, The City of Birmingham Parks & Recreation
- Katherine Pearson & Marshall Anderson, The Philip Morris Fund for Design Art
- David Fleming, REV Birmingham
Also involved in the project is OJB Landscape Architecture, a professional landscape firm leading the diverse team of national and local experts engaged to produce the plan for Linn Park.
David Fleming, President & CEO, REV Birmingham
On Monday, May 9th, I took a stroll through Linn Park with David Fleming, the President & CEO of REV Birmingham, to learn more about the project.
“When the City Center Master Plan was done in 2019, the consultants who looked at downtown Birmingham pointed out this park as an area that could use a refresh. An example would be that the fountains are not working. It’s taken a little while, but we’ve got several people to the table—the City, the Park Board, The Friends of Linn Park and a number of other people and organizations.”David Fleming
As an organization, REV Birmingham has promoted “catalytic development” through multiple projects in the Birmingham area, including the recent changes to 20th Street North.
“The 20th Street project is almost complete, and we’ve already been hearing comments from people about how great the refreshed street works. You just can’t underestimate how important it is to keep a civic space and public realm clean and inviting. And if people are noticing that, it’ll start to attract more and more public use. With Re-vision Linn Park, we want to design something that responds to the way people interact today—we certainly want Linn Park to be a place where everybody feels welcome.”David Fleming
The community-oriented process to Re-vision Linn Park kicks off with an open workshop on Wednesday, May 18th at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Details about the upcoming workshops will be available on revisionlinnpark.com.
“Linn Park certainly has good bones, and I don’t know that I would expect that the whole park would need to be completely redone. Ultimately, it’ll depend on the community input we receive—what needs does Birmingham want Linn Park to fill? Anything is on the table.”David Fleming
As for David Fleming himself?
“Speaking as just a single citizen of Birmingham, I see Linn Park as a space that ought to unite and excite everyone. Linn Park isn’t Railroad Park, it isn’t Brother Bryan Park, it isn’t Vulcan Park; it’s a unique space surrounded by these civic anchors. Linn Park is the civic square. There are so many fantastics organizations nearby—the art museum and the public library, to name a few. I am excited to see what uses Birmingham has in mind for Linn Park.”David Fleming