Railroad Park wins major award!

October 19, 2012  |  Birmingham, Alabama

Camille Spratling, Executive Director of Railroad Park Foundation writes . . .


“A heartfelt thank you to all of you for making Railroad Park possible–the park that each of you have supported in significant ways has won what arguably is the top honor possible: Urban Land Institute’s “Urban Open Space Award!”  I hope you have seen the great news on the front page of today’s Birmingham News.”


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By Stan Diel | sdiel@al.com

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Birmingham’s Railroad Park edged out parks in New York City, Portland and Calgary to win the Urban Land Institute’s Urban Open Space Award, the institute announced today. It’s a major accolade for the two-year-old, $22 million park that overcame skepticism to reclaim 19 acres of overgrown space along the railroad tracks between downtown Birmingham and UAB. Among the parks that Railroad Park beat out for the honor was New York’s famous High Line. “It’s a great honor to go up against the best and win,” said Giles Perkins, the Birmingham attorney who was president of the Railroad Park Foundation during the park’s design and construction. The winner of the award, which recognizes parks that help revitalize communities, receives a $10,000 cash prize and is featured in Urban Land magazine. Officials representing the park were to be in Denver today to receive the award. Tom Leader, the Berkeley, Calif., architect who led the design of the park, said Birmingham represented a particular challenge. Urban parks often are built on the banks of a river – which Birmingham lacks – and the budget was considerably smaller than the budgets for most other similar projects. So Leader, who said he wants every park he designs to be unique, focused on what was there, and not on what was missing. “Birmingham doesn’t have a river,” he said. “But it does have that rail.”