Birmingham on Forbes Magazine list of emerging U.S. Cities' downtown

Mayor William Bell talked about Birmingham making the Forbes' list on Tuesday at a news conference. (

Birmingham has landed on Forbes Magazine Top 15 list of emerging U.S. Cities' downtown.

The "Magic City" made the list thanks to a rise in the number of people living and working in downtown and an increase in the number of businesses that occupy space.{}"With railroad park and the new regions park that's coming up, a lot of good things are going on here," said Mike Denniston, who works downtown.Reports say the number of people who call downtown home rose by 32% since 2000. {}Greg Nuckools, a downtown hot dog stand owner, said he's definitely noticed an influx of people.{}"It does seem to be getting busier. I'm standing in front of a building that has new tenants. So, there are folks moving into downtown," Nuckools said.Other cities on the emerging downtown list include Memphis, Tenn., Atlanta, Ga. and Pittsburgh, Pa.{}

The distinction also raises questions about safety. {}Just this month, 15-year-old Jermaine Walton was fatally shot in the head at Railroad Park. Crimes in the city have led some to perceive downtown as dangerous and unsafe, but city leaders said the perception isn't slowing growth.{}"We've just seen a renaissance in those particular neighborhoods. So, it's very important and encouraging to see that." Johnathan Austin, District 5 Councilman for Birmingham said. {}"I have never worried about downtown at all. {}I feel very safe and comfortable down here."City leaders say they're working to change the image of downtown and their work is paying off. {}They plan to continue investing in city center projects to not only help downtown but surrounding communities.{}