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December 2023

Recently I was reading the Draft Master Plan currently being developed for the Birmingham’s Parks and Recreation Department. It is truly impressive to see the long list of parks and all the amenities offered to our residents. Twenty-six parks filled with playgrounds, tennis courts, greenspace and walking trails!

Later that day, as part of the Ad Hoc Aging in Place Committee, I was sitting around a table in City Hall with a group of dedicated residents working together to support Birmingham’s efforts to make our city the ideal place to enjoy retirement and beyond.

Walking back to my car, I passed the almost completed Baldwin Public Library addition that is so aesthetically pleasing but also very conducive to welcoming book lovers of all ages. As nearby crews were adding holiday lights to the trees throughout Shain Park while kids were playing, Norman Rockwell could not have painted a more idyllic picture of community.

com·mu·ni·ty is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of common attitudes, interests, and goals.

It’s a simple, yet powerful concept, one that Next wholeheartedly embraces.

Community at Next means walking into the lobby greeted by warm, friendly smiles or making new friends at an art or fitness class. It is also members who gather for speaker presentations, book clubs, round table discussions, concerts and celebrations while discovering the joy of shared experiences.

Community also means reliable transportation to your next medical appointment, a hot meal delivered to your door, a repaired leaky faucet, or a sidewalk shoveled to keep your walkway safe. It is the dependable reassurance that Next has, and will continue, to look out for those that could use a little extra assistance.

At Next, our mission is centered around fostering that sense of a caring community.

We are here to help you age safely and gracefully in your own home, while also offering a wide range of life-long learning and enrichment opportunities that will not only enhance your daily routine, but also connect you to your community.

Building a stronger community that meets the needs of all residents is a shared responsibility. With the passage of the new senior millage in November, Birmingham has begun to put in place the needed structure and financial framework that is critical to supporting our rapidly expanding older population.

Thank you for supporting this new initiative – and making a positive and transformative impact on your community. In the next several months, look for more information to be shared on the developing plans for the updates needed to the YMCA building that will better accommodate older residents and community activities alike.

Next is a perfect microcosm of our greater Birmingham community. Like Birmingham, Next is warm and welcoming with an active, full calendar of activities that offers so many ways to belong to your community. Join Next ( to see for yourself how many opportunities there are to stay active and connected!

Cris Braun is Executive Director of Birmingham Next


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