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  • By Bill Seklar


I read recently that “concrete, steel and fiber-optic cables are the essential building blocks of every community. Infrastructure enables trade, powers business, connects workers to their jobs, creates opportunities for struggling communities and public spending on transportation, water, buildings, and pedestrian routes.” It concluded that “infrastructure is the backbone of a healthy economy.”

Construction has shut down Old Woodward Avenue through parts of downtown Birmingham; simultaneously work on parallel Woodward Avenue in the city is scheduled to start as soon as April 15.

This is big. It will take a village. Small businesses along the affected construction routes will likely be impacted. How much is up to us; you, me, The Community House, all of us. During this time, most of the affected businesses will be open for business. We need to support them. They are our neighbors, our friends, our supporters. When we need a donation, an auction item, volunteers, a sponsor, advice or a listening ear – they are there for us. They surround us and serve us every day – it is humbling to think about the amount of time, commitment, investment and labor these hardworking individuals contribute to their businesses, to our community and to all of us.

So during this time of short-term time of inconvenience – we need to be there for them. Please continue to shop, dine, patronize these affected businesses, large and small, retail and offices, soft lines, coffee shops, restaurants, real estate offices, merchants and others – over the next four months and longer. Sidewalks will be open, valet available, back doors may be used, online presence increased – and most businesses just a text or phone call away. Shop local, dine local, support local.

Please be reminded that the main four-block stretch through downtown, from Brown Street to Oakland Avenue, closed on March 26 for the $7 million infrastructure overhaul, and Maple Road will be restricted to one or two driving lanes, with no room available for stopping or parking.

At the same time, be mindful that a $3.4 million road resurfacing project on Woodward Avenue from 14 Mile to Old Woodward is expected to reopen by the end of July, and work on Woodward should be complete in time for the Woodward Dream Cruise on Aug. 18, according to MDOT.

We are grateful that the city proactively ramped up marketing and communications to ease the impact of the project to area businesses, especially those within the blocks closed to motor traffic. We are also grateful that the city has had the focus, vision and leadership to keep our cherished community vital, infrastructurally sound, competitive, motor and pedestrian-friendly and beautiful.

To ease the pain, starting this month, the city is offering $20 rebates to shoppers who spend $100 in the downtown shopping district, with a rebate limit of $100 per month per shopper. It is also offering complimentary valet parking. Four parking stations at each side of downtown will operate 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and the service will be free for the first two hours. Remember infrastructure is the backbone of a healthy economy…short-term pain, long-term gain.



The President’s Advisory Council (PAC) of The Community House is thrilled to invite you to the second annual Birmingham Downs, Kentucky Derby Event on Saturday, May 5th from 5pm - 9pm. The fun and festive Kentucky Derby center event will take place in Wallace Ballroom at The Community House. The evening will include strolling food stations, cocktails, the running of the 144th Kentucky Derby featured on the big screen, derby-themed raffles and a charitable contribution to the mission of our 95-year-old non-profit organization serving the community. Grab your biggest derby hat and join us for Birmingham Downs. Tickets are available online at or by calling 248.594.6409. SELLS OUT FAST.


Mark your calendars – taking reservations now! Join us for Mother’s Day Brunch 2018 on Sunday, May 13 in the Wallace Ballroom of The Community House. Seatings at 10:30 a.m. and 1p.m. $40pp Adult - $15pp Children (ages 4-12 years) – Children 3 and under free. Reservations required. For more information or to reserve your seat, please go to or call 248.644.5832.



The Community House is proud to present over 40 summer camps – Summer 2018; half day, full day, morning, afternoon, lunch optional, with before and after-care opportunities. Make sure to visit to see all of our camp offerings and to register. Hurry! There is limited enrollment!

For more information about these and other Community House offerings, please contact us at or call 248.644.5832.

William D. Seklar is President & CEO of The Community House in Birmingham.

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