By Nathan Prewett
For the Tribune
BIRMINGHAM – At a meeting on Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council voted to authorize Mayor William Bell to sell a historic piece of property to the Salvation Army. The property is in disrepair but the Salvation Army has proposed to re-purpose it.
The council voted unanimously to authorize Bell to enter into a commercial sales agreement with the Salvation Army for the property formally known as Slossfield Community Center. The historic center was built in the 1930s and had served as a health clinic, maternity ward, recreational center and education center.
The resolution allows the city to sell the property for 0,000. Councilor Marcus Lundy asked if there was anybody who could speak to minority participation in the project during the phases of construction.
Major Roger Glick, who is an Area Commander of Greater Birmingham for the Salvation Army with his wife, DeAnn, was present at the meeting. He addressed the council and said that the contractor for the construction project, Brasfield and Gorrie has committed to working with minority advocacy groups in increasing minority participation in the project.
The Slossfield project is one of two phases in expansions for the Salvation Army of Birmingham. Last year, the Salvation Army broke ground on a project for a new headquarters campus to house administrative offices for million.
“The first effort yielded two percent results,” Lundy told Glick. “Two percent. In a city that is greater than three quarters minority we yielded two percent. So, my prayer for the Army is that they strive to meet the one-third percent, the 33 percent that we like to target, that we like to propose. And if you come up short there, you hit the consent decree of 27 percent. That’s federally mandated. So, two percent is quite shy of the mandated 27.”
Glick said that the Salvation Army will continue to “convey that” to the contractors of the project.
“I just wanted to say how thankful I am that the Slossfield building is going to be saved and repurposed,” said Council member Valerie Abbott. “Because that building has been moldering for years and years and years. It’s an eye sore and I know that when y’all get through with it, it’s not going to be an eye sore anymore. It is a historic property so we want to see it preserved.”
Council member Sheila Tyson asked Glick if the problem of people loitering or staying at the property has been resolved. Glick said that he could not speak to that but referred to Operations Director John Stamps, who said that they have mostly “taken care of it” but because it’s a public street there are problems with keeping people out.
The resolution was approved unanimously with one councilor abstaining. The former community center, which is currently in disrepair, is located at 1910 and 1920 25th Ave. N and 1918 25th Court N in Birmingham.
The Birmingham City Council meets on Tuesdays at 9:30 at Birmingham City Hall.