The Birmingham City Council’s Economic Development & Tourism Committee is meeting today to decide the fate of the Powell School property, the site where Birmingham’s first “free school” was built in 1874.
Located at 24th Street and 6th Avenue North, the current building was constructed in 1888. It was shuttered by Birmingham City Schools in 2001. In 2011, the historic 16,944 square-foot schoolhouse caught fire, substantially damaging the building. Later that year, the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation added Powell School to their “Places in Peril” program.
Positive Step Forward
12 years after the fire the building remains dormant and continues to deteriorate.
According to Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, the Council committee will hear plans to reactivate the property.
Below is a statement he provided Bham Now about today’s Council committee meeting.
“As I understand it, the item before the Council’s Economic Development & Tourism Committee today is a necessary step towards the ultimate goal of reactivating the Powell School property.
Previously, the City of Birmingham had transferred title to the property to the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation (ATHP) for the purpose of redevelopment. It’s been 12 years, but a path forward appears to have finally been identified. The termination of the agreement will allow that proposal to move forward.”
The Economic Development & Tourism Committee is meeting after the Tuesday City Council meeting in the Council Chambers (Birmingham City Hall 3rd Floor) at 11:30AM.
Here is the wording of the Powell School agenda item under consideration:
5. Powell School Termination of Redevelopment Agreement
Termination of Redevelopment Agreement between the City of Birmingham and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation dated July 19, 2011, for the redevelopment of Powell School, termination of deed restrictions imposed by the City on the property in connection with the Redevelopment Agreement, and revocation of a limited power of attorney granted to the City to enforce the terms of the Redevelopment Agreement and deed restrictions. These documents are being terminated to enable a proposed new development of the property.
If the proposal passes the committee, the entire Council will then decide whether to move forward with the proposed measure and plans.
What do you think of this new initiative on the Powell property? Tell us opinion by tagging us on social media at @bhamnow