Adams and Reese Birmingham Partner Giles Perkins authored a guest blog for al.com challenging the children to dream big to help transform the city of Birmingham similar to Perkins' childhood of visiting Railroad Park and being inspired to revitalize the local landmark.
“I think it was in 2002 when I made my first visit to the lot that became Railroad Park," Perkins wrote. "The day we opened the park, I challenged my own children and all the children of Birmingham to adopt a project and see it through. I reissue that challenge now. Learn from our successes and failures. This is your home. Make it what you want it to be. And, when the going gets tough, go out to Railroad Park and be reminded of what is possible.”
Railroad Park just celebrated its 5th Anniversary. Railroad Park is a 19-acre green space downtown that integrates the train experience with open space activity and in 2012, received national recognition as the winner of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Urban Open Space Award. Perkins helped the organization raise funds for a 20-acre green space along First Avenue South in the historic Railroad District, which provides a venue for local recreation and cultural events, as well as celebrates the rich history of the city of Birmingham.
Since the 1970s, Birmingham's Railroad Reservation, a mile-long corridor between Alice Furnace and Sloss Furnace, has inspired talk of a downtown park. However, plans remained disorganized until the 2001 formation of Friends of the Railroad District, an earnest non-profit organization bent on revitalizing the district and raising funds for the development of a park. Through major donations from foundations and businesses, the Three Parks Initiative culminated in January 2008 with nearly $15 million raised, $8.7 million of which went to the development of Railroad Park.