On December 2, residents of Bush Hills joined BL Harbert International and Live HealthSmart Alabama, a University of Alabama at Birmingham initiative and powered by the Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center, to begin work in Bush Hills.
Event speakers included Bush Hills Connections President Joanice Thompson; Bush Hills Neighborhood Association President Walladean Streeter; BL Harbert International Group President Chuck Bohn; CEO of Live HealthSmart Alabama, Dr. Mona Fouad; among others.
This revitalization kick-off event follows ribbon cuttings held in two other Live HealthSmart Alabama demonstration communities, Titusville and Kingston, earlier this year—making Bush Hills the third neighborhood to embark on this journey toward better health for all. To help facilitate the improvements in the built environment, BL Harbert has taken on the role of the lead construction partner on the project.
Dr. Mona Fouad explains, “BL Harbert has roots in the community and strives to serve the areas in which they work. We are excited about this partnership and look forward to working together, alongside the community, to make Bush Hills a healthy, more accessible neighborhood.”
After the partners completed their remarks, BL Harbert presented a surprise gift to the Bush Hills revitalization team. This gift of a produce stand (pictured left) was one of the earliest requests the team had made. Using a retrofitted shipping container, BL Harbert installed a sink, fridge, electricity, and air conditioning—making it the perfect place to prepare and distribute the community garden’s harvest to neighbors.
“It was great to see the efforts of so many come together to kick off the revitalization of Bush Hills. BL Harbert is grateful for this opportunity to utilize our building expertise to support one of our local communities. It is an honor to join forces with UAB, Live HealthSmart Alabama, and the Bush Hills Community” said Chuck Bohn, BL Harbert International Group President.
Once the program had concluded, BL Harbert coordinated a volunteer day with their team members. Prior to the kick-off, BL Harbert teams ensured permits were in order, temporary road closures were in effect, and delivery trucks were on schedule.
On the day of the kick-off, volunteers were provided lunch before breaking out into teams (navy, blue, red, and green). After forming groups, BL Harbert team leaders assigned tasks that would be carried out throughout the neighborhood. These jobs included courtyard and general clean-up, tree and flower planting, pine straw and mulch placement, leaf blowing, and power washing.
In addition to hearing the inspirational speeches, attendees were given the opportunity to visit the Mobile Market and—recently added—Mobile Wellness van. Using years of research and work in communities across the South, Live HealthSmart Alabama has developed a plan to make good health simple by improving the areas of healthy eating, prevention and wellness, and physical activity in communities across Alabama. It’s this plan that will guide the work being done in Bush Hills.
Joanice Thompson commented, “Within a few short years, we have been able to do unbelievable things here in Bush Hills.” Walladean Streeter added, “The neighbors of Bush Hills came together and created an action plan with a dream to restore the neighborhood. And today, our dream is becoming a reality with the help of each of you.”Streeter concluded with the remark, “Today’s event will give you a sneak peek into the future of Bush Hills.”