MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The city of Mobile has announced a $1.1 million project to revitalize the historic Bienville Square in downtown Mobile following the damage that was sustained during Hurricane Sally.
Mobile’s tree canopy took a beating during the hours when the city was lashed by the winds and rain of Hurricane Sally, none more so than the oaks in Bienville Square. The city says the damage from the storm, however, has provided an opportunity to revitalize the city’s landmark square and secure its health and vibrancy for future generations.
Thanks to financial contributions from the City of Mobile and Regions Bank, implementation of a master plan commissioned in 2019 will begin soon.
“Created in the 1850s, Bienville Square has undergone many changes over the decades, but the classical design and oak tree canopy have remained constant. The current plan, commissioned by the Downtown Parks Conservancy (DPC), preserves these features and addresses the issues of soil compaction and its impact on the health of the trees. With slight alterations to the central plaza around the fountain, the replanting of trees, and the addition of lush landscaping, this revitalization will restore and improve our treasured public space.” said Kellie Hope, President of the Downtown Parks Conservancy. “The design ensures that our citizens and visitors may continue to enjoy the park, as it will accommodate many of the gatherings the square has hosted over the years, without causing further damage to the iconic live oaks.”
“From the moment we first surveyed the damage sustained during Hurricane Sally, we began a discussion about how we would repair and revitalize this vital part of downtown Mobile,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “I want to thank Regions Bank for their contribution to this effort to restore one of our City’s most iconic landmarks and the Downtown Parks Conservancy for their vision to preserve and improve Bienville Square for future generations of Mobilians.”
“Regions Bank is committed to supporting community partners that are making an incredible difference in helping the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Sally,” said Christian White, Mobile market executive for Regions Bank. “Bienville Square supports downtown Mobile’s tourism and economic development, and it provides a special place for community engagement. It was a natural opportunity for Regions to join the Downtown Parks Conservancy and Mayor Stimpson in restoring Bienville Square. The bank’s mission is to make life better in the communities we serve, and through the work to restore Bienville Square, we are ensuring Mobilians and others will have opportunities to enjoy the square for generations to come.”
Phase One of the revitalization involves redesigning and repaving the central plaza; upgrading the secondary pathways; new structural soils and storm drainage; upgrades to and restoration of the Ketchum Fountain; and the planting of trees.
Initial estimates of the cost of these improvements is $1.1 million.
A $200,000 commitment from the City of Mobile and a $50,000 donation from Regions, has provided DPC with a grand platform from which to launch the campaign to raise the remaining funds.