International Women’s Day

“I’m a Southern girl, but I’m a thinking girl.”-Yolande Betbeze, Miss America 1951

International Women’s Day, held on March 8, is a global celebration to honor the achievements of women throughout history.  Throughout the history of Mobile, there are several women who stand out for their accomplishments.  These women have defied traditional roles and acted as trailblazers, paving the way for future generations. These are seven of their stories.

Alva Belmont, Suffragist

Ava Belmont, a native resident of Mobile, was a wealthy socialite who used her influence to advance the rights of women. During her early life, Belmont was educated in France but then later moved to New York City where she met and married her first husband, William K. Vanderbilt, grandson of the railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. After her second husband, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, passed away in 1908, she devoted her life to advocating for women’s rights. In 1909, Belmont founded the Political Equality Association, which was associated with the  National American Woman Suffrage Association. Belmont took over the leadership of the National Women’s party in 1920, after the passing of the 19 Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. However, Belmont refused to vote until there was a female candidate in the running for president. In 2016, on Equal Pay Day, President Barack Obama established the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington D.C, in order to preserve the history and to recognize all of those who fought for gender equality.

Karen Mayson Bahnsen, LSU Golf Coach

Karen Mayson Bahnsen has been the head coach of the women’s golf team at LSU since 1985. In her 33 years as head coach, she has qualified for the NCAA Championship Tournament 11 times and led the Lady Tigers to an SEC victory in 1992. Bahnsen, a graduate of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, was a  star golf player and won the title of both a state and national high school champion in 1979. After graduating from McGill, Bahnsen continued her passion for the sport at Louisiana State University, where she was the first woman ever to receive a scholarship for golf. After graduating in 1984, she was named the head coach of the  LSU women’s golf team. In just her second year of coaching, she had the number one player in the country on her team, five team titles and a top 10 NCAA Championship finish. Bahnsen is currently a Women’s Golf Coaches Association Hall of Famer and an inductee of the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame.

Fannie Motley, First African American to graduate from Spring Hill College 

Fannie Motley, a native of Monroeville, Alabama, was the first African-American to graduate from Spring Hill College in 1956.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Science and honors in both history and English. After graduating, Motley went on to be an elementary school teacher in the Mobile County School System. After some time in Mobile, Motley moved to Cincinnati with her husband, where she continued to teach for 24 years. Along with teaching, she also earned a Master’s degree in counseling from Xavier University.   In 2004, Spring Hill College awarded Motley with an honorary doctorate of humanities and established the Fannie Motley Endowed Scholarship with the hopes of continuing to further diversity among students.  

Kathryn Patricia Hire, Astronaut

Retired U.S. Navy pilot, Capt. Kathryn “Kay” Hire, has experienced the journey of a lifetime by traveling to space not once but twice. Before starting high school, Hire was inspired by an article she read about the first woman starting naval flight training in Pensacola. After graduating from Murphy High School, she went on to receive her Master’s degree in space systems and worked as a space shuttle engineer for NASA. Hire was presented with the opportunity to apply for the astronaut program, and in 1995 she became a part of the elite group. Hire is the first woman from Mobile to become an astronaut. Her commitment to challenging herself and advancing her career is an excellent example of how women are opening doors and serving as trailblazers for women of the future.

Lillian Belle George, Jazz and R&B artist

Lil Greenwood was born in Prichard, Alabama. She started her career as a teacher, but later decided to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. After her husband left with the military, she packed up everything and left for San Francisco. In San Francisco, she sang at the Purple Onion Club and even had the opportunity to record for the Modern and Federal labels. In 1956, she was asked by American composer, Duke Ellington, to perform as a soloist in his orchestra. After performing with Ellington, she recorded singles for several smaller labels. In 2007, she recorded the CD “Back to My Roots” with David Amram.

Augusta Evans, Novelist

Growing up in Columbus, Georgia, Augusta did not receive a formal education, but her love for reading was established at a young age. After her family suffered from bankruptcy, they moved from Georgia to San Antonio where she experienced the vibrant surroundings of the Mexican War. These experiences and surroundings inspired Evans to write her first book, Inez at fifteen. At 18, she wrote her second book, Beulah, which sold over 22,000 copies during its first year of publication and as a result established her as Alabama’s first professional author. Her most successful work of literature, St. Elmo, sold one million copies within four months. Evans was the first women in the United States to earn $100,000 from her writing.

Yolande Betbeze, Miss America

Yolande Betbeze, an activist for civil rights and the winner of the 1951 Miss America Pageant, was far from the stereotypical beauty queen. Betbeze quickly sparked controversy among the Miss America organizers when she refused to fit into a small bathing suit for a pinup style photoshoot saying “I am a singer, not a pinup”. She also publicly criticized the Miss America pageant for excluding minorities and picketed for civil rights. Betbeze fought hard for gender and race equality within the pageant community and her actions proved to be essential in progressing the Miss America program far beyond beauty to focus more on leadership and intelligence.

2017: A Year in Photographs

Momentum is defined as the impetus and driving force gained by the development of a process or a series of events. As 2017 comes to a close, I have begun to reflect on those series of events that have led us to where we are today. These photographs are only a glimpse of the momentum we experienced in 2017.

January 13th, 2017

Taking time to thank our first responders is very important. Everyday they put their lives on the line to protect us and keep our city safe. At the police graduation, I shared my best wishes as they began their career and gave each one the book “A Case for Character” for them to reflect on when they are out on patrol.

January 30th, 2017

In 2017, the world saw Mobile is open for business. Here, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of when Airbus opened its doors in Mobile. The excitement escalated in October when the news broke that Airbus would be building a second assembly line.

February 8th

In honor of the 20th anniversary of Cathedral Square, we unveiled “Equino.” This piece not only celebrates the square but the 25th anniversary of the Mobile Mounted Unit and the life of Lt. Tommy Menton.

February 17th

It is the citizens of Mobile that make our city so special. Isaac White opened a free barber college in 1944 to help bring jobs to his area and to give people a second chance. White was honored by Allstate Insurance as a person you need to know and was awarded an Exceptional Citizenship Medal for his dedication to Mobile.

February 19th

We couldn’t have been more excited to welcome Jean-Claude VanDamme along with the rest of actors and crew for his new film “Black Water”.  The film industry in Mobile is a real success story and it is something we hope to build on in the future.

February 20th

The MPD robot scopes out situations for our SWAT team. He not only maneuvers through dangerous situations, but can talk too! He once saved a child’s life by waking the young boy up and urging him to leave his house when an intruder was there.

February 23rd

To kick off Navy Week this year, I had the privilege of skydiving over Battleship Memorial Park with the Navy Leap Frogs. They are an extraordinary group of servicemen, and I am thankful for their service.

March 2nd

Public Safety Director Barber, Chief Battiste, Chief Sealy and I are committed to knocking on every door in Mobile to learn how we can create safer  neighborhoods.

March 29th

This year, hundreds of new jobs flooded to Mobile. On this day,  Commissioner Ludgood and I shared a laugh following the announcement that Walmart would be building an import distribution center. Not long after, Amazon followed suit and announced they would build a sortation facility in Mobile.

April 6th 

In the past, the City did not devote enough resources or attention to litter, but that is no longer the case. On this day, we unveiled our new litter patrol vehicles that monitor the streets collecting thousands of gallons of trash. We’ve also installed litter cameras in well-known hotspots across the city to identify people illegally dumping their waste. While we are making headway, we cannot stop until there is not a single piece of trash left in Mobile.

April 18th

Small business is the backbone of our economy and this is one of the more interesting ones we have visited. Mobile Cryotherapy offers a unique and effective recovery method for people of all activity levels by having them stand in a chamber of subzero temperatures.

April 26th

Thumbs up for our capital improvement plan! On this day, we stopped by McGregor Road to check on progress.  We are fixing streets, sidewalks, ditches, bridges, drainage, and parks that we use every day. Now, we are developing a five year plan to help execute large-scale infrastructure projects and identify other funding opportunities. We still have a long way to go, but we are finally fixing Mobile!

April 27th

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant is a $14.5 million award to rebuild aging infrastructure, connect citizens to jobs and revitalize historic neighborhoods. On this day, we hosted a community engagement meeting to share the next steps of the project.  Once completed, we will provide safe, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly access, beautify the streetscape and stimulate economic activity along the Broad-Beauregard corridor.

April 28th

The tech industry in Mobile is on the rise attracting the attention of major technology companies along the West Coast. Dan Veltri, one of the founders of Weebly, along with other major tech companies such as Reddit, ventured South to see what Mobile and our tech corridor had to offer.

June 9th

I cherish the time I get to spend with family. I was lucky enough to have my wife Jean and our granddaughter Virginia join me as we cheered on all of the competitors at the Dragon Boat Race held at Battleship Memorial Park.

June 23rd

Blight is one of the most challenging issues we face in Mobile, but the Cottages at the Gardens Open House was a victory during our fight on blight. Utilizing funding from the federally funded HOME Program, five blighted shotgun homes underwent a complete restoration on West Prichard Avenue to provide quality affordable housing. This public-private partnership with developer Lyn McDonald provides five single family units for low-to-moderate income families.

June 29th

Cammie’s Old Dutch hits the spot on a hot and humid Mobile day. The only thing sweeter was spending time with these two young Mobilians!

June 29th

Last October we stood before you as an administration heartbroken and frustrated with the amount of youth violence in our city. We promised you a plan and this summer it was put into action. After attending the job skills training for the Y.E.S. program, I saw our 14 and 15-year-olds learn about interviewing, goal setting, resume writing and more. Through this initiative, 250 young people develop ed valuable workforce skills that will help them obtain employment down the road and stay off the streets and out of trouble.

July 5th

Along with thanking our first responders, it is also important to sit down with them and hear what they have to say about their department. June Firefighter of the Month, Captain Samuel Allen, laughs along with Chief Sealy and James Barber, Public Safety Director, as we discuss the ongoing operations in the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department.

July 7th

AFC Mobile has been a welcome addition to our sports scene. This summer, they experienced record breaking attendance at their games and support for the team continues to grow. It was an honor to be able to toss the coin at one of their games this year.

July 14th

To conclude Alabama Hip-Hop week this summer, an event was held in Cathedral Square to bring awareness to domestic violence. The host of the event, DJ Dirty Dan, was awarded a key to the city for his dedication to making Mobile a better place.

July 15th

It is vital that we provide our youth access to safe, recreational opportunities. In order to connect communities throughout the City of Mobile, we must ensure that our parks meet the needs expectations of our citizens. The new playground at Medal of Honor Park is a shining example of what all of our parks can become.

July 27th

Will Yandell, president of Heritage Land and Development, and business partner John Glassell were all smiles after the announcement of Merchants Plaza! This redevelopment will offer residential, office and commercial space. Heritage said they chose Mobile because “it had the right environment and leadership.”

July 31st

The excitement was palpable  after we returned from Miami with a contract from Carnival Cruise Line to extend the Fantasy’s stay in Mobile another year! This agreement is evidence of the positive working relationship between the City of Mobile and Carnival. We continue to build the momentum of the growing cruise industry in Mobile and are committed to expanding the cruising options and destinations both in and out of our port.

August 11th

Celebrate the City was a sight to see during our August Art Walk. Artists across all genres collaborated together to put on a second line to Bienville Square where the stage was set. Prior to the parade, I joined my friend Victor Law as he led the parade down Dauphin Street.

August 19th

In the past, the City has simply not devoted enough resources or attention to recycling, but that is no longer the case. We launched a free recycling app, Recycle Coach, started a new curbside recycling program for LODA businesses and opened two new single stream recycling locations.

August 20th

The days of Raggedy Ann Street are coming to an end. After the hard work of our contractors, you can now ride, bike, blade or run down a smooth street!

August 21st 

Water Street is often people’s first impression of the City Mobile. Ironically, Water Street currently prevents you from accessing the water. Thankfully, we have finally begun construction to transform Water Street from the backyard of downtown into the gateway of Mobile.

September 20th

It means the world to have one of the biggest names in the film industry come to Mobile, not once, but three times. We appreciate all of the work Nicolas Cage has done in Mobile and it was my honor to award him a key to the city.

September 21st

I hope everyone has taken advantage of Brown Bag in Bienville, a weekly concert series in Bienville Square. The man behind it, Catt Sirten, has been a staple in the Mobile music scene for decades and was well deserving of the Exceptional Citizenship Medal.

September 23rd

One of Mobile’s brightest stars has gone above and beyond to give back to his hometown. NBA Star DeMarcus Cousins generously donated $253,000 to build a new basketball court at Figures Park and threw his second annual block party to bring the community together.

October 19th

Corporate headquarters are viewed as the crown jewel of economic development and the ultimate prize for any community. SSAB’s decision to locate its headquarters in Mobile will create high paying jobs and add momentum to our downtown resurgence. I am thankful for SSAB Chuck Schmitt’s confidence in the future of Mobile.

 November 6th

Term two, day one. Thank you Mobile for giving me this opportunity to serve you for four more years.

November 17th

The Mobile International Festival showcases our city as a cultural hub and allows people from all walks of life to come together and celebrate cultures from far and wide.

December 1st

You can’t have a great city without great beer. Serda’s Brewery is a phenomenal addition to our downtown, and I’m excited to welcome more breweries to Mobile in 2018!

December 6th

The new Precinct 2 for the Mobile Police Department is a world class facility that will cut response times in half for the community it serves. We must provide our first responders with the tools and resources they need to protect our citizens’ lives.

December 8th

Think Santa’s elves brought the North Pole to Mobile! During Elfapalooza, we didn’t break the record for most elves but we broke the record for most snow in Mobile on December 8th. I’ll take it!

13 Days of Halloween in Mobile

“Fall in love with Mobile this Halloween! There are only 13 days until All Hallow’s Eve, so don’t miss out on haunted tours, costume contests and more this year.  Treat yourself Mobile!” – Mayor Stimpson

For the next 13 days leading up to Halloween, the City of Mobile, museums, businesses and other organizations are hosting events across the City to celebrate the spooky holiday. There may be only 13 days left, but there are more than 13 ways to celebrate Halloween in Mobile this year.


What: Thriller Night of Lights

Thriller Nights of Lights is a family-friendly drive-thru light show synchronized to music playing through your car radio. Displays of giant spiders, spooky eyes, friendly ghosts, and tumbling scarecrows are just a few of the displays to see dancing to a fun variety of music.

When: Every night in October, 7-10 pm

Where: Hank Aaron Stadium


What: Haunted Fort Notorious Beginnings

Haunted Fort brings together an amazing cast of actors, special effects, stages, and scenes in a truly unique and exciting walkthrough experience that you see, hear, touch, smell and feel. Haunted Fort will reveal the lesser-known side of our city’s beginnings as actors depict the spirits of Mobile’s founding fathers and others whose dark legacies lurk in the shadows of the historic fort and beyond

When: Every Night in October, Tours at 6,7,8, and 9 pm

Where: Fort of Colonial Mobile


What: Haunted Ducks

For centuries Mobile has been home to pirates, vagabonds, miscreants, soldiers, and ladies of the night. While their bodies may be gone their souls remain. Embark on a spine-tingling tour of Mobile and the Mobile River as you search along our haunted city streets for these forgotten souls who linger somewhere between today and the afterlife.

When: October 19-21, October 25-31, Tours begin at 6,7,8, and 9 pm

Where: Fort of Colonial Mobile


What: Church Street Graveyard Tours

The graveyard has burials dated back to the early 1800s including Joe Cain and the builder of the Oakleigh House, James Roper. Visit to purchase tickets.

When: Oct 19 &26, Tours begin at 10 am & 6 pm.

Where: Church Street Graveyard



This convention will be truly unique to the Gulf Coast area including awesome guests, an amazing vendor floor, diverse gaming, and an unbelievable dedication to all things cosplay. Multiple locations include Cooper Riverside Park, The Gulf Coast Exploreum and The Mobile History Museum. Visit for admission.

When: October 20-22

Where:  Arthur R. Outlaw – Mobile Convention Center


What: Night at the Museum

Join the History Museum of Mobile for a tribute to comic books and historic looks at the History Museum of Mobile. Their annual event “Night at the Museum” is back and this time it is superhero-themed. Experience the “Hall of Justice” and explore their limited-time exhibition, “Comic Books: Lessons in Ink,” where you can learn the history of comic books, understand the significance of the Comics Code and how comics have shaped society as we know it. Meet your favorite superheroes; enjoy kid-friendly arts and crafts, food trucks, costume contests, and much more. Admission is $10 per adult, and $5 per child ages 6 and up. Children ages 5 and under will receive free admission. Quest-Con attendees and members of the History Museum of Mobile are also FREE! For more information, please contact their event manager, Gavin Snyder at 251.301.0273 or

When: Oct 20, 5-9 pm

Where: History Museum of Mobile



The ArtGO! tour will officially be unveiled at a free Halloween-themed event including a selfie race and an art-themed costume contest. Refreshments will be available.

When: October 21, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Where: Mobile Arts Council


What: Market in the Park

Come shop for your fall favorites including Halloween treats, jams and jellies, pumpkins and produce and more!

When: October 21,28 7:30 am to noon

Where: Cathedral Square


What: Lil’ Ghouls & Goblins

Treat yourself to a costume Contest, face painting, bounce house, Trick or Treat, games, and a cupcake walk –all for only $5.

When: October 21, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Where: Oakleigh House Lawn


What: Woofstock 2017

Woofstock is a day filled with weiner dog races, a dog costume contest, music, a kids zone, food and drinks – all to benefit the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). Tickets are just $15 for adults and $5 for children. All the fun kid zone activities are included in the admission price as well as entering your pup in the weiner dog race and costume contest.

When: October 22, 11 am- 6:30 pm

Where: Bienville Square


What:  Brown Bag in Bienville

Come out and listen to the soothing sounds of Rebecca Barry as you dine in Bienville Square around the historic Ketchum Fountain. To make your Brown Baggin’ easier, stop in at your downtown eatery and ask for the Brown Bag special. They will provide you with your lunch to go in a “Brown Bag” that you can easily transport to the Square and recycle in one of our recycle bins.

When: October 25, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm

Where: Bienville Square


What:  Mystere 2017: Mysteries & Curiosities

Indulge in fabulous food and drink while enjoying the Gulf Coast’s most unusual entertainment. Find treasures and trips at the silent auction. Witness the wonders of acrobats, aerialists, fire eaters, magicians, and fortune tellers— all to support STEM education across the Gulf Coast.

When: Oct 26, 6-9 pm

Where: Gulf Coast Exploreum



The Mobile Museum of Art will be haunted with famous artists for this Day of the Dead-meets-Night at the Museum Halloween extravaganza! MMofA has partnered again with AIDS Alabama South for another day of the Halloween art history event for the whole family. Performers from a number of community theaters will be joining as deceased artists come to haunt the galleries. Fun also includes a gallery scavenger hunt, live music, Day of the Dead altars made for artists no longer with us, sugar skull making, face painting, and tarot card readings. Come in costume with the whole family and take a spooky trip through time and into art history.

When: October 26, 6 pm

Where: Mobile Museum of Art


What: Galactic Halloween 2017

You can purchase tickets for the New Orleans jam band Galactic at

When: October 27, 9 pm

Where: Soul Kitchen



Family friendly activities and demos will be inspired by the unexplained while exploring the amazing world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Enjoy Spooky Jell-O Worms, see ghosts flying into the air, or encounter a creepy chemical chameleon. Don’t forget to dress up in your Halloween finery, because prizes will be awarded to during the 12:30 Costume Contest. Be sure not to miss the annual exploding pumpkin in the courtyard during one of the Exploreum’s most loved annual events.

When: October 28, 10 am – 2pm

Where: Gulf Coast Exploreum


What:  GulfQuest Halloween Fest

There will be a wide range of activities for adults and children alike including pumpkin carving (BYOP) on the patio overlooking the Mobile River! The Galley will be serving lunch and Halloween Brews. If you arrive in costume, see the exhibits for only $10.00. You can also learn about some Mobile Myths and legends and checkout the Savage Ancient Seas!

When: October 28, 10 AM – 2 PM

Where: GulfQuest, 155 S Water St


What: Halloween Healthcare Hauntings

Come celebrate Halloween weekend at one of Mobile’s oldest and spookiest homes, the Vincent Doan Walsh House, home of the Mobile Medical Museum since 2003. Halloween Healthcare Hauntings is a fun-filled, family-oriented and educational event to raise funds for the museum’s exhibits and programs.  Special guests include the “ghosts” of George Washington, Henri de Tonti, Emily Bronte, Marie Curie, and other famous people from history who will tell us how they died of once common causes such as yellow fever, tuberculosis, and bloodletting. Other activities will include museum tours, yard games, haunted train rides, and a Halloween costume contest. Halloween candy and light refreshments will be provided.

When: October 28, 1 PM – 4 PM

Where: Mobile Medical Museum


What: Mobile Witches Ride

Benefitting the local nonprofit Delta Dogs, this event invites you to wear your best, most fabulous witches or warlocks’ costume and hop on your broom (aka your bicycle – yeah decorate that, too!) for a fun, slow paced 3-mile ride around downtown Mobile and DeTonti Square. The ride will end with a fabulous block party with music, libations, and food from local food trucks and our party hosts, The Blind Mule. Your ticket includes access to the street party, an event t-shirt and one free beer. Food and additional beverages will be for sale through the onsite vendors. Prizes for best dressed Witch and Warlock will be happening, too!

When: October 29

Check-in: 3:30pm – 4:45pm

Witches Line-up: 4:45pm – 5:00pm

Witches Ride: 5:00pm

Black Hat Block Party: 5:00-7:00pm

Where: Blind Mule


What: Victorian Mourning Living History Tours

This event includes a Mourning Tour of the Historic Oakleigh House and an exhibition of 19th century mourning goods, including hair jewelry and mourning veils. Please call (251) 432-1281.

When: October 30 & 31 starting at 7:00pm

Where: Oakleigh House Museum


What: Rocky Horror Picture Show

Audience participation is encouraged and all props and costumes are allowed EXCEPT food. The Mystic Society of Rocky Horror will sell $5 bags containing all of the allowed props in the lobby before each show, but you may bring your own.


Friday, October 27 – 9:00 PM

Saturday, October 28 – 9:00 PM

Sunday, October 29 – 9:00 PM

Tuesday, October 31 – 9:00 PM

Where: Crescent Theater


Don’t see your event on this list? Email Laura Byrne at to be added.


Leaving a legacy, not a burden

By James Roberts, Senior Director of Neighborhood Development

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Without a will, many homes are left with no clear owner and become an heir property — a property that has been inherited by relatives of the last property owner.

The Problem

Heir property is one of the greatest contributing factors to blight in any medium to large size City, Mobile included.  Although most consider crime, poverty, lack of commercial development, and a high unemployment rate to be the leading contributors to blighted properties, heir property is the most significant.  While all cause the downward spiral of a neighborhood, the spiral begins with an heir property.

These types of properties are often not transferred properly or are transferred to multiple heirs. This is particularly a problem when the heirs include multiple generations and are long distance. The once vibrant home becomes forgotten, abandoned and unmaintained.

Whether it is having no will in place at time of death or having the best intentions of leaving each child with a piece of the house, heir property leaves open the door to cause a fight for the property, for heirs to withdraw equity and walk away, or for the heir with the least resources to move in because it is “free”. All of these issues, in turn, lead to higher tax defaults and deferred maintenance costs that put the property under water with no way back for the family.  The problem is also sometimes compounded when the heirs recognize the potential issues early on and choose to ignore them for too long because of the sentimental value placed on the property, usually relating to the former owner and what once was.  Too often, we see homes demolished because the heirs let the property go so far that there is no way back.

The Solution

Because this issue is so common, the City of Mobile is introducing a will program to reduce blight and revitalize our neighborhoods. Facilitated by Legal Services of Alabama, LLC, the “leaving a legacy” program will provide wills free of charge to those who qualify.  As this program takes shape, the City will require that all housing assistance applicants have a will in place by the time of assistance. The goal is to have as many residents with wills as possible so that the multi-generational loss of wealth is not passed down to future generations.

This program is one more piece to the puzzle to restoring our historic neighborhoods and leads us farther on the path to becoming to becoming the safest, most business and family-friendly City.

Why we go to Paris

by Mayor Sandy Stimpson

Why do we go to the Paris Air Show? One word: Jobs. You can’t be any more specific than that.

Mobile has a generational opportunity because of Airbus and we are 100 percent focused on making the most of that opportunity. Aerospace jobs are some of the most highly-skilled, highest paying jobs in the world, and the competition for them is fierce. To get them to Mobile, we must come here to recruit them.

Our mission is simple. Business is all about relationships. To be successful, we must build upon our existing relationships and while constantly working to establish new ones. The great thing about the air show is that it’s a unique opportunity to network with top-level executives from the world’s leading aerospace firms. Mobile has a great story to tell, and this is the best possible audience to share it with.

Just because Airbus is in Mobile and assembling planes, our work is not done. In fact, it’s just beginning. We are actively recruiting additional aerospace companies with a particular focus on potential Airbus suppliers. The good news is that the interest level is high, our brand is strong and our leadership team is in sync.

One of our primary targets is Airbus itself. Part of our strategy is to continue recruiting Airbus because there are tremendous opportunities for Mobile beyond assembly of the A320 family. The great thing about that is, nobody knows what we’re capable of in Mobile better than Airbus.

Our momentum is stronger than ever. The recent decisions by Amazon and Wal-Mart to build distribution centers in our community are being noticed around the world. The Port of Mobile already was named one of the fastest growing ports in America even before those investments. We are continuing to add jobs in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology. Tourism is growing, entrepreneurship is booming and, of course, our quality of life is improving every day.

We have a busy schedule of meetings at the air show and we have great support from our state delegation led by Gov. Kay Ivey. While I won’t give away anything to our competition, I am looking forward to engaging with industry leaders such as Airbus, ST Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation. We will make sure they know that Mobile is open for business.

We like to say that, when it comes to aerospace, even the sky is not the limit for where Mobile can go. Future generations will look back at this time in our history and hopefully be able to say that we made the most of the opportunity we were given. Paris is just a step on that journey.


4,000 reasons to say YES

When I joined Mayor’s Stimpson’s administration, the vision was very clear: we will become the safest most business and family friendly city in America by 2020. It is up to each staff member to ensure that vision is a concrete reality. Well, business is booming. Capital improvement is happening all over the City and we have put measures in place in our court systems to stop punishing poverty.

What about our young people?

Their voice was missing but not their actions. In 2016, we saw a spike in violent youth crime. Why? We asked young people from ages 14 to 24, and they all had the same response; we need activities and we want to work.  In October 2016, we created the Youth Empowered for Success (YES) Initiative. Through this initiative, we wanted to provide our young people not only what young people wanted, but by also looking at data to see what they needed to learn, grow and thrive including safety, economic security and outreach through education and mentoring. In order for our youth to be empowered, we as a City wanted our youth to constantly be reminded of our initiative’s core values: love, hope, respect, protection, opportunity, resources and most importantly fun.

How are we ensuring success?

Our recreation staff has been diligently working to ensure activities are in our community centers for the young and the young at heart. We have created an interdepartmental initiative where our fire and law enforcement recruits are engaged with the community as a part of their training. Once training is complete, every recruit will have already established relationships with the community they will serve prior to receiving their badge. We are consistently monitoring positive and challenging youth activity, and are looking at strategies to remove barriers and increase access to evidenced based approaches and best practices. You will begin to see YES Zones all over our City that ensure safe and youth friendly spaces and places. Our professional athletes are stepping up and providing summer camps that provide rigor to the body and mind. We are actively seeking over $3 million in grant funding to build the capacity of young people in our community.

Job growth in Mobile is increasing, and we want youth to be a huge part of the City’s workforce. Through the YES Initiative, we are providing opportunities for evidenced based job skill training and creating awareness that our youth are ready to work. We made funding available for businesses to hire two or more youth this summer. We have assisted the Mobile County Public Schools and the Mobile Housing Board in securing additional businesses to work with their summer job internship programs. We have also partnered with the City of Gulf Shores and Baldwin County hospitality companies to provide jobs for our youth in Gulf Shores. Not only are we assisting businesses and organizations with hiring young people, we are hiring more than 90 youth in our City departments as well.

Do kids really want a job?

Well, the City received more than 4,000 applications this summer! 4,000 reasons to say our youth want opportunities. Our youth want to be productive. 4,000 reasons why you should invest your time, talent and energy into their current potential and future possibilities.

So how can you say YES?

Hire a young person this summer. Ask the managers where you spend your dollars how they are investing in youth. Empowerment begins the moment you decide to take the first step and turn a vision into a reality. Use your power of one to continue the momentum of change. Say YES to the vision of ensuring success for our youth.

2017 State of the City

Think about it!  The population in Mobile hasn’t grown in over 50 years! For years, the City had been losing the race, lagging behind our peer cities despite the fact that we had the talent to win. The city’s cheering section, which is its citizens, had grown quiet—until something changed. Slowly at first, Motivated Mobilians became more engaged and started creating momentum all across the city. One of those individuals is Lynn Oldshue who created a video which tells the story.

Metaphorically, when applied to sports teams, momentum means the team is on a roll – a winning streak. Building upon our past economic development successes and our downtown revitalization, today, we are a more exciting city, one that is on the pathway to its destiny.  We are becoming a fun city – a place with fun things for you and our visitors to do; a place with multiple great dining experiences. Visit Mobile will build upon this as it tees up to double the number of visitors to the city. Just as the momentum can shift in a sporting event based on one play, Mobile’s momentum started gaining speed as more Mobilians started engaging in improving our city, and as they started talking enthusiastically about the great things happening.

In the beginning only a handful believed that we could unite as One Mobile to become the safest, most business and family friendly City in America by 2020. Today there are tens of thousands, both in and outside of the city, who think we’re heading in the right direction.

Our Build Mobile team brainstorming with the Innovation Team.

To become business-friendly, we started cutting red tape three years ago, and we’re still cutting it.  Two years ago, we started the City’s first robust, proactive Supplier Diversity program. And last year, we established Build Mobile as a City department to lay the foundation to serve everyone who wants to do business, create jobs and grow Mobile.   The Build Mobile team has already made major strides, but those strides in improvement will become gigantic steps over the summer as we complete the implementation of the Tyler software system and launch an online permitting application process that will provide customers more accessibility and transparency.

Welcoming back the Carnival Fantasy.

These changes combined with many others have signaled to companies that Mobile is open for business.  Last year, Carnival made its triumphant return and is now making weekly excursions from Mobile, all of which are filled to capacity.   Airbus delivered its first plane made in Mobile to JetBlue and closed out 2016 by delivering its 17th plane – one more than their goal for the year.   To date we have announced that 19 aerospace suppliers have located at Brookley.

Commissioner Ludgood and I celebrating after the Walmart Distribution Center announcement.

Recently, Walmart announced that its sixth import distribution center would be built in Mobile.  In and of itself this is huge. However, after building a similar distribution center in Savanah, 52 other companies followed suit. Surely, it’s just a matter of time before others will be announced in Mobile.

Our focus on becoming a destination for IT-based entrepreneurship has not gone unnoticed. Late last year, the White House named Mobile a TechHire Community — a designation given to cities committed to connecting its citizens to well-paying tech jobs.  Mobile is only one of 72 communities across the United States to receive this prestigious designation. When combined with our Advanced Manufacturing Community Designation, we are one of only 16 cities in America which have both designations by the US Department of Commerce.

Just a couple weeks ago, we hosted a delegation of top technology executives from Silicon Valley including founders and chief executives representing Reddit, iCracked, Bellhop, Weebly, Arka, and Fuel Capital.  The outcome of their interested in Mobile is hard to predict, but they were blown away by what we are doing and by our hospitality.  More will surely follow.Innovation and technology are two of the key pillars in our plan to create high-paying jobs in Mobile.  In this pursuit, City government will continue to be a facilitator and convener and work vigorously to create a city where smart, talented young people want to live.  We will embrace the culture of innovation just as we have embraced advanced manufacturing.

Leading the Silicon Valley executives on a tour of Mobile.

To become family-friendly, we had to improve the quality of life in Mobile. With leadership from our Bloomberg Innovation Team, we began understanding the process of revitalizing our neighborhoods. Because of their work, Mobile achieved a 12 percent reduction of blight in 2016, which will ultimately result in safer neighborhoods and increased property values across the city.

Crews pouring concrete for new sidewalks.

Through collaboration with the City Council, we spent $21 million on fixing broken infrastructure and improving our parks.  Mothers and fathers can finally push baby strollers down smooth sidewalks, and youth finally have access to better and more recreational opportunities. Just last week, after 30 years of being a dream, we finally broke ground on the Mobile Greenway—the  next step towards creating a 12 mile biking and walking path which will connect Langan Park to Downtown Mobile and Mobile Bay.

Breaking ground on the Three Mile Creek Trail.

Additionally, last year, The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the City a $14.5 million Tiger grant that will connect to the Mobile Greenway and reconnect divided neighborhoods by creating bike and pedestrian lanes and landscaped medians. The initial design for this transformational, family friendly transportation project has begun.

The road to becoming the safest city has been the most challenging. After years of grossly underpaying our first responders, our police officers and firefighters finally received significant pay raises for their service.  Our officers are no longer driving worn out police cars. Our paramedics are driving new emergency sprint trucks and new ambulances.  And, our firefighters have safer, more modern gear plus new fire trucks.

We continue to transform our criminal justice system to ensure that we are punishing crime, not penalizing poverty. Our changes to Mobile’s Municipal Court system have been hailed by the Department of Justice as a model for the state and nation.

Announcing the Youth Empowered for Success initiative.

While the rise in teenage homicide is a national trend, we want Mobile to be the trendsetter that finally puts an end to these senseless tragedies. In January, we launched the YES Initiative – Youth Empowered for Success.  Our plan is to reverse the effects of violence and secure a bright future for all of our children.The YES initiative provides our most vulnerable youth access to available resources to assist in life and job skills training, and employment opportunities.  As this pilot program grows, we will reverse the trend of youth violence in Mobile and empower our youth to succeed in life.

Mobile continues to increase its momentum. Last Friday we announced a new Fire Chief.  On Monday, we announced a way for our police officers to spend more time on major crime issues.  Yesterday, we announced a partnership to connect our youth to jobs this summer in Gulf Shores.  Tomorrow, we will break ground on a new fire station in Crichton.   And on Friday, we will establish a new location for the 2nd Precinct bringing law enforcement closer to the community it serves in the Tillman’s Corner area.

Breaking ground on the new fire station.

It has been suggested that maybe we should rest on the 7th day.  Rest?? – maybe! but we will never stop thinking about or seeking ways to improve our city – every aspect of it and every part of it.

At the beginning of my remarks I asked you to think about it – to think about how Mobile has been for the last 50 years. No growth, but surrounded by growth. Now I ask you to think about the last 3 years and the momentum you have created.  I ask you to think about all that the City Council has accomplished. They care. They listen. Their hard work and your hard work combined with our collaboration with regional, state and national stakeholders and leaders has put Mobile right on the cusp of true transformation and growth. We’ll continue to take risks and try new things if it means a safer city; if it means more jobs; if it means a cleaner and greener Mobile.

Not only are we catching up with other cities, we are passing them. We are leading the pack in court reform, community policing, repairing infrastructure. The state of the city is sound and getting better. God willing and we live, we will eventually lead the state in job growth and population growth.  One Mobile will happen.

Joe Cain leading a second line on the new Celebration Trail.

Citizens aren’t just cheering us on anymore. They’re running with us – opening new businesses, mentoring and hiring youth and cleaning up our City. There are no try-outs to join Team Mobile. We have no plans to slow down. In fact, we’re picking up the pace. We have found strength in numbers, and as our momentum grows, so will our community.  As we do so, you will have opportunities that can’t even be envisioned. Your property values will increase, your businesses will grow, and your children will start moving back home because this is where they choose to live.

I don’t know if you picked up on the last lines of the video, but it said – “Mobile’s potential depends on you. Her potential depends on us. This city is ours and the best of us is still to come.”  Think about it! Let’s go get ‘em!

A Cleaner, Greener Mobile

by Bill Harkins, Executive Director of Public Works

The City of Mobile is entering a new era of litter and recycling through a multi-pronged approach.  This takes coordination and teamwork from City Departments, volunteers, organizations and citizens. By doing so, we’ll become a cleaner, greener Mobile and improve our quality of life. Why change?  After listening to our citizens, there is a strong demand to solve the litter problem and to offer more recycling opportunities.   Though on the surface recycling and litter may not seem connected, they are.  Research and common sense both show that the more we recycle, the less we litter.

For decades, the City has had a Keep Mobile Department (KMB) that has worked closely with the KMB Commission and KMB Inc. to set a foundation for recycling and litter efforts in Mobile.  Despite these efforts, our diversion rate from our landfills is only 6 percent.  The reported state average is 24 percent and the national average is 34 percent.  We not only want to finally meet the national average for recycling, we want to exceed it!

With this in mind, we developed an operational plan that increases opportunities for our citizens to recycle that are more accessible and less confusing.  This not only helps people move away from a littering mindset, but reduces landfill use and costs.

Mayor Stimpson announcing our new litter and recycling agenda

At the same time, we organized a more focused section of City employees to address our litter issues directly.  We combined two small City Departments, the Spill Crew and Keep Mobile Beautiful, renaming the department:  Cleaner, Greener Mobile.  We’ve also purchased specialized equipment allowing our employees to clean up litter at a faster rate.  This group is responsible for coordinating the City’s litter eradication work and implementing our robust recycling program.

Mayor Stimpson taking one of our new Vactor trucks for a spin. These trucks allow our employees to swiftly remove litter from our sidewalks.

There has been a lot of buzz about recycling in Mobile lately.  Yes, we are shutting down the old recycle center at Government Street and setting up multiple recycle drop off locations throughout the City.  Why?  The old center required citizens to sort their recyclables, and place them in separate bins or other holding areas at the center.  Our recyclables will now be delivered to a single stream material recovery facility just 57 miles away that uses state of the art technology to process all recyclables without manual sorting and separation.  Citizens will no longer have to sort recyclable materials.  Plastics, bottles, cardboard, paper and metals will be gathered in one container at home or in the office and then placed in a single stream bin at one of the drop off locations.  We’ve converted to single stream recycling at the old recycle center for several weeks and it’s been a huge success.

Accepted Recyclable Materials include Glass, Newspaper & Inserts, Cardboard, Magazines & Catalogs, Junk Mail & Envelopes, Paper Bags & Phone Books, Colored Papers, Aluminum Cans & Lids, Tin/Steel Cans & Lids, Metal Pots & Pans, Pet Food Cans, Plastic Produce Clamshells, Plastic Milk Jugs, Cereal Boxes, Foil Baking Pans, Cardboard Egg cartons, Dry Pet Food Bags, Pizza Boxes, Tin Foil, Plastic Bottles and Plastics No. 1-7.

We refocused our mission and goal to double the collection of recyclables within one year.   We will no longer be a redistribution center for items such as packing peanuts, old clothes, wooden pallets, plastic bags, and other items that are not recyclable.  We are directing our patrons to other organizations who will accept these items.  We are no longer holding and redistributing oversized pickle jars and other items that are now a part of the recycling stream.  Additionally, plastic shopping bags and coat hangers can be returned to your retailer.

As we demobilize the leased Government Street location, we’re establishing more drop off locations at the Western Administrative Center, across Museum Drive from the Mobile Museum of Art in Langan Park (bright green box on  map below).

We’ll also place a single stream drop off bin behind the Police Headquarters near Public Safety Memorial Park.  This one will be accessed from Pinehill drive (bright green box on  second map below).  Within months, there will be drop off locations in every Council District.

We’re excited about our new recycling and litter programs.  I encourage you to try the single stream recycling process at a drop off location near you. We think you’ll like it and you’ll be helping to clean up Mobile too!

Mobile Kicks Off Alabama Bicentennial

Alabama became the nation’s twenty-second state on December 14, 1819. During the course of the next three years, our state will support, create, and execute events and activities that commemorate the stories of our people, place, and path to statehood.

Mobile Alabama will be hosting the kick-off festivities for the Alabama 200 Bicentennial celebrations in honor of being the oldest city in the state. During 2017, communities are encouraged to create activities that “Explore Our Places.”  Mobile opened its first event at the Mobile Museum of Art with Alabama Artist of the Year, William Christenberry: Christenberry: In Alabama exhibit. Christenberry has long been associated with his native state, and his work has been consistently, and lovingly, collected over many years by each of Alabama’s major art museums. The exhibit honors William Christenberry’s creative lineage, his legacy, and the enduring love he had of Alabama.  This exhibit will run through June 4, 2017. Also showing at the museum is Contemporary Alabama Photography by guest curator Richard McCabe, Curator of Photography at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and The Mobile Delta: Glass & Light by artist Rene Culler.

On May 5, the community celebration will begin at 6:00pm at Mardi Gras Park with children’s activities including face painting and balloon art. The History Museum, Mobile Carnival Museum, and the Fort of Colonial Mobile will all be offering free admission during this time. The celebration will move to Cooper Riverside Park at 8:00 pm for a concert and fireworks on the river.

There will be many upcoming events this year as we continue to celebrate and encourage our community to Explore Our Places. Up next is Explore Mobile. On June 4th, the History Museum, Gulf Quest, the Exploreum and other downtown attractions along with the Mobile Botanical Gardens, Mobile Museum of Art, and Japanese Gardens at Langan Park will offer free admission as well. To keep up to date on all events and exhibits, go to or follow us on Facebook at Alabama200.


Mobile is a home for the homeless

By Michon Trent, Senior Director of Civic Engagement

After joining the Mayor’s staff last year, I was tasked with working with homeless agencies in Mobile to gain an understanding of the role homelessness plays in individuals’ lives, as well as what role it plays in the continued growth and revitalization of Mobile.

I am now a member of the homeless taskforce, which is comprised of organizations, residents, business owners, members of the Mobile Police Department and other city employees who are concerned and want to provide the right services for our most needy residents.

The focus of the taskforce is to provide the best services our community can offer to the homeless. To do so, we identify who the homeless are in our community and establish what their needs are and what services exist to address those needs. This is an unprecedented effort to identify every available resource and bring immediate help in the most compassionate way to every homeless person who will accept it.

Recently, the taskforce led a communitywide point in time count in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. The purpose of a point in time count is to determine the number of sheltered and unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness in our area. Now, our community has the ability to measure Mobile’s homeless population.  Following the count, Project Homeless Connect offered free services for the homeless including medical, legal, veteran services, employment services and mental health.

Right now, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create an atmosphere of change that lifts people out of homelessness. To become more involved with ending homelessness in our community, I encourage you to seek out community service opportunities with our partner agencies including Salvation Army, McKemie Place and Penelope House. To become One Mobile, every citizen must be able to truly call Mobile their home.