The Society of American Travel Writers’ (SATW) annual convention, held in New Zealand last month, served as the backdrop to announce the 2011 Phoenix Award winners. Created in 1969, the Phoenix Awards recognize conservation, preservation, beautification, and environmental accomplishments as they relate to travel. Birmingham’s Railroad Park was one of four developments in the nation recognized with a Phoenix Award. Nearly four decades in the making, Railroad Park is a linear, 19-acre green space created on a former urban wasteland in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. The first stage of a planned “Three Parks Initiative,” it features a two-acre lake and meandering creeks; paths for bicyclists, runners, and walkers; benches; free wifi; a skate park; play areas for children; a grassy hillside amphitheatre; outdoor workout equipment; and a shaded plaza with covered sheds that hold park offices, bathrooms, and areas for concessions. It serves as a space for recreation and small- and large-scale events. “Railroad Park has all the parts for a Phoenix Award – historical and environmental conservation, public/private partnerships, across-the-board benefit to the community and potential to fuel future growth,” a committee member wrote.
For more information on Railroad Park please see www.railroadpark.org.