This initiative will eliminate blocks of urban blight and replace it with a dynamic active park surrounded by new commercial space, affordable housing, educational and health facilities for the local community, as well as an entrepreneurial / small business center. Accordingly, this initiative will dramatically increase Ensley’s attractiveness as a location to live, work, play and thrive.
INTERACTIVE FOUNTAIN PARK
The park will occupy a full city block in Downtown Ensley and be designed by internationally renowned landscape architect Walter Hood. Walter Hood’s process involves engaging with and listening to the community before designing the space.
Accordingly, BEAT will not be in position to provide a rendering or guaranteed park component details until after the feasibility study / campaign are successful and Mr. Hood completes the design. However, BEAT anticipates inclusion of the following key elements:
Green spaces designed for educational, recreational and fitness opportunities
Special features for seniors and senior activities
Walking / running path with exercise stations
Playground in support of pre-K / youth
Interactive recreational fountains
Concert / movie and reception area
Food trucks and kiosks for food and retail
ADDITIONAL PARK NOTES
The park and park programming will be a draw and “destination” for all of Western Birmingham (West End, Pratt, Five Points West, etc.). BEAT anticipates that residents within a fi ve-mile radius will use the park on a regular basis, and residents outside of this radius will drive to attend special programs and events at the park. Nearly 30,000 residents are within a five-minute drive of downtown Ensley.
The City of Birmingham will own the park, but it will be managed by BEAT through the creation of a Park Conservancy nonprofit. This scenario is similar to how Railroad Park is managed, but without the need for ongoing city funding as the budget needed for park maintenance / landscaping will be generated via rents from Ensley Junction Flats and other project components.
ENSLEY JUNCTION FLATS
This new three-story mixed-use building will overlook the park and include the following:
48 affordable residential units (1-2 bedroom)
Seniors are likely to occupy two-thirds of the units
16,500 square feet of new commercial space that will house
A new bank branch
Pre-K - BEAT will recruit a highly-respected pre-K provider
After school programming for children K-12 - BEAT will contract with a program provider
New commercial space for businesses drawn to the park-side location and opportunities in Ensley (department store, bank branch and restaurants).
WESTERN HEALTH CENTER RENOVATION
The vacant 24,000 square foot Western Health Center will be completely renovated and will offer:
General health and dental services (first floor)
BEAT will attract / recruit a well-regarded provider.
Entrepreneurial center / business incubator (second floor)
BEAT intends to develop a private sector-driven program focused on encouraging and supporting start-up businesses and will be working with REV Birmingham, the Birmingham Business Alliance, and other potential partners to devise programming. An entity other than BEAT will “own” the program – including program development, funding, and implementation.
Commercial Center / Retail Opportunities
This project, working in concert with other public and private sector efforts, has the potential to attract significant commercial / retail investment. As depicted in the following graphics, significant population - with increased financial capacity - resides within a 1, 3, and 5-minute drive of Downtown Ensley. Nearly 30,000 residents within Western Birmingham are a mere 5-minute drive away.
This is a map of 1, 3, and 5 minute drive times surrounding the Ensley trade area.
The chart to the left is a summary of economic and demographic information as it relates to 1, 3, and 5 minute drive time polygons surrounding the Ensley trade area.
Additionally, this graphic highlights the neighborhoods in close proximity to Ensley that are expected to access the park and utilize downtown commercial entities.
BLOC Global Group projects that neighborhood-serving retail—including building material and supplies, department stores, full-service restaurants, and special food services—offer the greatest opportunity at Ensley commercial locations.