First phase of Birmingham Bond Referendum: What's been done?

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The City of Birmingham continues to undergo improvement projects approved through its $150 million bond referendum.

The projects include everything from parks and sidewalks enhancements to roadwork and lighting renovations.

In fact, Councilwoman Valerie Abbott says an LED lighting program in her district, which was touted by Mayor William Bell last week, was one of the projects she submitted for bond referendum consideration. Abbott contends all councilors were told to submit projects for inclusion in the first phase. Improved lighting along Highland Avenue was among her top three priorities.

"When it's bond issue time, it is really time to put on your thinking caps and decide where can I get the most bang for my buck and what have people been complaining about for the longest," Abbott told ABC 33/40.

Councilman Jay Roberson agrees. He says, along with park improvements that are underway in his district, he looks forward to further renovations at Jefferson and Pearson Avenues.

Still, he admits lighting remains an issue for many parts of the city and everything can't be done through bond issues.

"Can we get all of it done? No, we can not," Roberson says. "...And not just from the bond referendum, we have capital improvement funds that need to be re-directed in other areas within the neighborhoods."

George McCall is the Ensley Neighborhood President. He tells ABC 33/40 he is satisfied with projects, including ongoing roof and floor work inside the Ensley Recreation Center.

When it comes to lighting, McCall hopes that could be taken up in the second phase of the bond issue.

"If you do one and not the other, then something is lacking," McCall says, while stressing the city can only handle so many issues at once.

ABC 33/40 reached out to Councilman Steven Hoyt, who represents parts of Ensley and has been outspoken about poor lighting in the area. However, Hoyt is in Atlanta on a city trip involving the Environmenal Protection Agency.

Abbott, though, says the city is working with Alabama Power to survey Birmingham and address lighting issues.

ABC 33/40 also sent requests Thursday to all city councilors, some of whom were out of town on business.

For a full list for street and storm sewer bond improvements, click here.

Stay with ABC 33/40 on this developing story.

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