A city with rapidly growing population
Hoover is Birmingham’s largest suburb with a population of around 82,000 and growing. In the 10 year period from 2000 to 2010 Hoover’s population increased a little over 30%. This compares with a 7.5% population increase for Alabama as a whole. Total population of the general neighborhood boundaries of Bluff Park is almost 27,000 which, according to U.S. Census data, registers as slightly larger than Homewood and just behind Vestavia Hills.
A city with rapidly growing diversity
Hoover is also one of suburban Birmingham’s more ethnically diverse suburbs. The racial make up of the city is mixed with whites coming in at 59,000, or roughly 72% of the total population. African American’s were 15% with 12,000, Hispanics at 6% with 5,000 and Asians with 5% and 4,100. These three minority groups combine to total 26% of Hoover’s total population.
This too is changing. According to U.S. Census Data, between the years of 2000 and 2010 Hoover’s African American population increased 185%. The next two largest minority groups, both Hispanics and Asians increased 137% and 128% respectively. This is compared to an 11% population increase for whites. According to a recent Birmingham News article, one of the main reasons for this rapid and disproportionate growth in minority population seems to be “middle class” flight from both the Birmingham City and Jefferson County school systems.
A city with geographic and demographic convergence
For the most part, Bluff Park is an older community within Hoover that sits at an intersection of the relatively affluent suburbs of Hoover, Vestavia Hills and Homewood and the “less affluent” neighborhoods of Bessemer, Midfield and downtown Birmingham. In many ways, the Bluff Park neighborhood sits atop an “invisible wall” that for much of Birmingham’s history has separated these newer suburban communities on one side of Shades Mountain from the older, less affluent neighborhoods on the other side. Sharing borders with this broad diversity of people allows the neighborhood of Bluff Park to occupy a unique position among Birmingham’s neighborhoods as a potential “launching pad” for future church plants and other works which “seek the welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7) by preaching the gospel, making disciples from among the diverse neighbors we share our lives with, meeting felt needs of our neighbors and building bridges between communities.
A strong commitment to local community
Bluff Park is unique among much of Hoover and it’s surrounding neighbors in that it is much more of a “neighborhood” than it is a “subdivision”. There is a strong “local” flavor among it’s residents evidenced by many strong, independent, “mom and pop” institutions. Some examples of this are local restaurant favorites like “Mr. P’s Deli”, the “Bluff Park Diner” and “Tip Top Grill” along with retail spots like “Bluff Park Hardware” and “Roger’s Discount Drugstore”.
A Growing artistic class
Bluff Park has long been an area with an artistic draw, particularly in the area of antiques and folk art. The Bluff Park Art Association is a strong arts advocate that for the past 50 years has hosted on of the premier open air art shows in the Southeast. Alabama’s state tourism director actually identified the “Bluff Park Art Show”, which drew over 10,000 people into the heart of Bluff Park this past October as one of the states “Top 10 Events”.
Within the last several years this influence has grown with the neighborhood additions of the “Artists on the Bluff”, a collective of artist studios inhabiting the former Bluff Park School, and the independent listening room, “Moonlight on the Mountain”. This provides us a unique opportunity to live and serve along side these “culture makers” who also happen to be our neighbors.