GAME-CHANGER: Bush Hills Connections Complex dedicated, thanks to partnerships [PHOTOS]

Bush Hills
Joanice Thompson, Walladean. Streeter, Billy Harbert and April Williams – Celebrating Bush Hills Connections

Bush Hills Connections, Inc., in partnership with Live HealthSmart Alabama and BL Harbert International, dedicated the Bush Hills Connection Complex at the site of the former Woodrow Wilson Elementary School on Wednesday, May 24.

A space in the community that had been closed for over 10 years, the newly named Bush Hills Connections Complex is a welcoming place for local residents. The newly restored  school-turned-community-center  includes: 

  • Full kitchen
  • Recreation center
  • Auditorium 
  • Courtyard garden patio
  • Farm stand
  • Bush Hills Community Garden & Urban Farm

“To build healthier communities, people living in the community must lead the work.”, said Joanice Thompson, President of Bush Hills Connections.  “As residents of Bush Hills, we are striving to build a sustainable foundation from within in collaboration with our valued partners.  Every community—no matter the economic or social status—has assets that can be identified and mobilized in community work.”

Bush Hills
Jonice Thompson addressing Bush Hills Connections dedication (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Tour firsthand the Improvements.

Below are pics— many “before” and “after” of the new center:

Recreation Center



Bush Hills
Bush Hills Connections Courtyard (Pat Byington/Bham Now)


Bush Hills
Bush Hills Connections Farmstead (Pat Byington/Bham Now

Urban Garden

Bush hills
Bush Hills Connections Urban Garden (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Community Infrastructure Enhanced

IMG 2602 GAME-CHANGER: Bush Hills Connections Complex dedicated, thanks to partnerships [PHOTOS]
Bush Hills dedication ribbon cutting (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

In addition to the new Bush Hills Connections Complex, over the course of this past year, B.L. Harbert, the City of Birmingham, Alabama Power, and Goodwyn Mills Cawood have improved the community’s surrounding infrastructure. 

They have conducted the following repairs and additions in and around the community center:

  • Repaired existing sidewalks and building new ones
  • Installed ADA street ramps and new crosswalks
  • Planted trees 
  • Enhanced green spaces
  • Installed outdoor furniture 
  • Added street lighting in key locations to increase visibility

The neighborhood has also become a demonstration zone for UAB’s Live HealthSmart program.

IMG 2589 GAME-CHANGER: Bush Hills Connections Complex dedicated, thanks to partnerships [PHOTOS]
Bush Hills Connections dedication (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Birmingham City Councilor and former Bush Hills Connections Board Member Carol Clarke summed up the attitude of the neighborhood and their ambitious goal to transform the school and neighborhood with the help of over 100 partners.

“We dared to dream of a big idea in the Bush Hills Action Plan, reclaiming the old school building.  We wrote it down having no idea how to make it happen.  Years later, we met Chuck Bohn of Harbert International, and the school board allowed us to lease the building, and the rest is history.  Words cannot express the joy and accomplishment we felt yesterday.”

Bush Hills
Joanice Thompson, Walladean. Streeter, Mark Sullivan, Mary Boehm and April Williams

Bush Hills Connections

To learn more about Bush Hills Connections and their myriad programs and partnerships, visit the community center at 1030 4th Terrace Ave. Birmingham or their website at

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.

Articles: 2468