Bessemer Redevelopment Corporation's core value is that WE have a responsibility to improve the quality of life of our employees and our neighbors. They saw the Northside community, the neighborhood just outside the front gates of BLOX, struggling with vacant and blighted housing, poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and other critical issues.
In 2020, Brian Giattina began to talk to people across the Bessemer community about starting a development organization to lead the effort to revitalize Bessemer. He formed Bessemer Redevelopment Corporation, a 501c3, in August 2020 with a Board that represents individuals born and raised in Bessemer and others who bring housing expertise to the table. BRC is looking to change history and be an organization that brings resources, jobs, and investments to the City of Bessemer.
We believe that Bessemer communities and neighborhoods can have a quality of life that makes it deserving of the name Marvel City. We will move forward through targeted catalytic projects that are multi-faceted and bring other like-minded developers togethers.
Lead the transformation of Bessemer's neighborhoods through community first development, including:
Melanie V, Bouyer is the Executive Director for the Bessemer Redevelopment Corporation. She holds a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from Strayer University. Bouyer earned a Juris Doctor degree from Miles Law School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Management from The University of Alabama in Birmingham and a Bachelor of Science in Speech-language Pathology from the University of Montevallo.
Melanie V. Bouyer is the former Mayor of the City of Lipscomb, AL. Bouyer is a member of the Leadership Birmingham Class of 2010. Melanie is a past Junior Board member of the Alabama Kidney Foundation. Melanie is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In 2010, the Birmingham Business Journal named Bouyer Top "40 Under 40". She received the Man of the Year Award from the YMCA for youth programs in Montgomery, AL, 2007.
Melanie currently serves as a commissioner on the Bessemer Historic Preservation Commission. She also serves on the selection committee for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Brimingham, Alabama.
CFO of GA Studios and Chief Development Officer for
Pastor at Fifth Avenue Bethel Baptist Church on the Northside of Bessemer, Alabama
Bessemer area real estate agent and fourth-generation Bessemer resident born and raised on the Northside of Bessemer, Alabama
SVP of SPM Property Management 25 years of HUD property management and project development experience
Community leader and executive at United States Steel Local community leader born and raised in Bessemer, Alabama
President of Rogers & Willard Construction, Mobile, Alabama
In the Northside neighborhood, just outside the gates of BLOX, deterioration, vacancy, and abandonment are rampant. The community is made up of 70 city blocks bordered by 5th Ave. North and I-59 and 22nd St. and 32 St. Northside is split by the Bessemer Superhighway with access to downtown and the Interstate. It includes multiple churches, schools, and neighborhood retail opportunities.
We are currently working with Bessemer and local partners to implement affordable housing policies and programs. BRC will begin to develop programs that encourage police, firefighters, teachers, and others that serve the community to live here.
The following are our basic development strategies:
Alabama's number of minority- and women-owned businesses are among the lowest in the nation—only 3.5 percent of businesses in the state. Although Alabama has a large African American population, its minority business ownership is just 2.9 percent in our target markets, significantly lower than the national average. Small businesses are central to Alabama's economy.
Our E=MC Squared Initiative is all about empowering, educating, and encouraging minority entrepreneurship within our community here in Bessemer. Small businesses served as the backbone of Bessemer's economy through challenging times before the influx of corporate giants who now call Bessemer home. We will provide technical assistance to small businesses owners who have historically been underserved.
We will offer workshops and programs focused on financing, accounting, personal credit vs. business credit, human resources management, marketing, product exporting, legal business structure, and overall organizational capacity building.
Our programs aim to provide business owners with the tools and skills needed to maintain successful operations, capitalize upon growth opportunities, and assist with accessing affordable capital.
In December 2021, Habitat for Humanity began building the first four new homes in Northside since the 1960s. These houses are being built on lots acquired by BRC and sold to Habitat. Two of these houses were turned over to the new families on December 17th, and the others will be completed in January of 2022.
The Fresh Water Land Trust (FWLT) is working directly with the City of Bessemer to develop a plan to help complete a Rails to Trails program to connect Bessemer to the Red Mountain Park and Hoover. FWLT owns large tracts of land along Valley Creek near the US Pipe and is looking to turn some of this into new recreation space.
In March of 2021, BRC, with the assistance of Navigate, purchased and began renovations of the former Train Depot property. The space will house the local farmers market, other weekend markets, community education spaces, children’s activities, and artist spaces. The building sits adjacent to downtown and is a crucial connection point between Bessemer North and South and is also along the Rails to Trails path that will connect Bessemer, Red Mountain Park, and Hoover.
The BRC Community Advisory Board will allow community leaders, business owners, and Bessemer residents to work with us as we plan community programing, build affordable housing, and support small business owners. We want to hear from the community!
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