Under a gorgeous blue sky, Birmingham Mayor William Bell welcomed Victor Mendez of the Federal Highway Administration to today’s historic ground breaking of the first 29 miles of the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail system—a project made possible by a $10 million matching grant from Department of Transportation funding through the TIGER IV program.
The grant also proves the value of the great public-private partnership that provided the essential local match, which came to just over $5 million. Thanks to our Community Funds, contributed by generous people in the past, and support from donors today through their Advised Funds, the Community Foundation was able to commit $387,100.
The ceremony took place at Center Street, part of the City’s Civil Rights Heritage Trail. “The historical significance of Center Street is important to our City and we are honored to note this history, especially as we commemorate 50 years forward. This is our story and we want to tell it in a way that honors and preserves it. This grant will touch many projects throughout the City and really impact the neighborhoods and communities,” said Mayor William Bell.
Shovel in hand, Community Foundation Vice President of Donor Relations Kathryn Corey stood alongside Freshwater Land Trust President Wendy Jackson during the ceremony. “Mayor Bell really tipped his hat to Wendy, who championed this plan,” said Corey.
Mr. Mendez was quick to praise the community’s collaborative efforts, pointing out that Birmingham was one of only 218 cities to receive funds out of more than 4,000 requests. “He absolutely speaks our language and was so complimentary of this community coming together to demonstrate the power of collective giving,” Corey said with a smile.
Community Foundation Director of Initiatives Gus Heard-Hughes highlighted that input from 3,000 community members helped shape this plan. “It’s really a great example of a participatory process, and it’s exciting to see the trails, sidewalks and bike lanes that communities asked for become a reality.”
“When we look at the Results we all are working toward — from vibrant communities to healthy lives — we see potential for true transformation with this investment,” said Kate Nielsen, Community Foundation president. “We also see the power of partnerships with other funders, including the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation and the Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust, UAB and UAB Medicine, Freshwater Land Trust, Jefferson County Department of Health, City of Birmingham, ALDOT, Alabama Power and CSX all helping us do more together than any of us can do alone.”
We look forward to learning more about which great projects will get under way soon and to continuing our work with so many great partners. Contact Kathryn Corey if you want to make a grant from your Advised Fund to support this or other projects to transform our community.