City proposes new road names honoring leaders in John Hunt Park

single-meta-cal October 22, 2020

If you’ve ever traveled to another town, looking for a sports complex for your kid’s tournament and your GPS did not show the facility – well, you know the feeling some families have when they come to Huntsville.

However, if an ordinance before the City Council is approved, that problem will be a thing of the past.

City Administrator John Hamilton said some venues, such as the Huntsville Tennis Center, have an Airport Road address even though they’re not on Airport Road.

And that creates some confusion for visitors using their GPS to find a softball field or their court at the Huntsville Tennis Center.

“We can start assigning real addresses to venues at John Hunt Park,” he said. “Some of the roads already exist; some are being built.”

John Hunt Park Road Naming Ordinance

The ordinance proposes naming four roads in John Hunt Park to recognize City leaders who were instrumental in the history of the site, including the original Huntsville Airport.

“This is very deserving and a great opportunity to recognize the great work by these people,” said City Council Member Bill Kling, whose district includes John Hunt Park.

The roads are being named for:

  • Former Mayor A.W. “Alex” McAllister, the longest-serving mayor in Huntsville history who served from 1926-52, during which time the City’s first major airport was built. Alex McAllister Drive will connect Airport Road and proceed north toward a newly constructed Steve Hettinger Drive, named for the former mayor (1988-96).
  • Russell Brown, the City’s second African American to serve as chairman of the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the City’s Planning Commission. It was during his tenure with the Planning Commission that Brown oversaw the completion, approval, and publication of the park’s master plan in 1993. Russell Brown Drive will connect to Airport Road, adjacent to the National Guard Armory, and extend southeast terminating at the Cross-Country course and Sand Volleyball Complex.
  • Steve Hettinger, in whose second term the City published the first master plan for development of the former airport property into Huntsville’s largest urban park. Steve Hettinger Drive is a newly constructed street from the the South Memorial Parkway service road to the Jaycee Building on the west side of the park.
  • The late Philip Dotts, who served the Huntsville community through a variety of volunteer and philanthropic roles. The western portion of Don Mincher Way – which runs from the South Parkway service road, around Joe Davis Stadium, to Leeman Ferry Road – will be renamed for Dotts. He served as a key adviser to the City on financial matters contributing to economic vitality of Huntsville. He also played a critical role in bringing the Huntsville Stars minor league baseball team and building the stadium, named for former Mayor Joe Davis.

Lay Team Effort

“Technically, there are two streets named after Don Mincher,” Hamilton said. “(The new) Don Mincher Way will extend from the Parkway and around the stadium to Philip Dotts Road, which will connect to Leeman Ferry Road (behind the Ice Complex).”

Hamilton said the proposal is a result of a “lay team effort” between Mayor Tommy Battle, the City Council, Parks & Recreation and other staffers.

The City Council is expected to take up the ordinance at its regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 5. Click here to read the document in full.

“I think it’s a great proposal and should be unanimous,” Kling said.