BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A gazebo that sits across from the Pratt City Public Library has seen better days in the North Pratt community of Birmingham.
It was dedicated and built following the April 27, 2011, tornado as a structure to mark the start of rebuilding the community.
Charlotte Gray contacted the Your Voice Your Station team for help to find out why the city has not been maintaining this gazebo that sits on city-owned land.
“In 2011 when they put it out here, they said this would be the standing point, the grounding point for this place to be rejuvenated,” Gray said. “They were going to redo the whole area.”
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Inside the gazebo, you’ll find a bees’ nest, exposed nails and wood falling out of place.
Gray lives across from the gazebo and said she is disappointed it is no longer maintained by the City of Birmingham. She said that she and her son take turns trimming the bushes and cutting the lawn.
“He stopped doing it,” Gray said. “That’s what made me really want to go on and get someone out here to do it because I was paying someone to come out here and cut this stuff. I had to pay to cut it.”
The city’s own website shows that the property, located at 427 Dugan Ave., is owned by the city and has been since March 27, 2012. The city started paying taxes on the land in 2013.
“I don’t want anybody to get hurt,” Gray said. “They catch the bus up here. There’s not a seat out here but they do go out and sit out here and wait for the bus to come – as well going into the library.”
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The neighborhood association met this past Tuesday and said it is disappointed that Gray did not go to them first to report her concern about the gazebo. It turns out, they’ve been working for months to figure out what to do with it.
City Councilor LaTonya A. Tate who oversees District 9 sent us this statement:
“I have been communicating with the neighborhood leaders and have reported it to the mayor’s administration. I would urge all our residents to take an active role in their neighborhood association meetings, which are often the first forums where issues like this are discussed.”
A city spokesperson told CBS 42 there was no initial understanding it had to maintain the structure but the facilities department is in the process of making repairs.
“I do know they need to do a job and complete the job,” Gray said.
CBS 42 Investigative Reporter Jen Cardone went to the North Pratt Neighborhood Association’s meeting Tuesday night. The association said it is planning to hold a special community vote on Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. to decide what to do with the gazebo.
The voting will happen at New Haven Apartments on 13th Avenue West, where the association holds its monthly meetings every second Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. Tate and the neighborhood leaders encourage everyone in the neighborhood to attend these meetings.