Investing in play – the powerful magic of city parks

single-meta-cal July 26, 2018

Investing in our city parks is an investment in us. Our parks are places where we make connections and memories, play competitive games, and revitalize our bodies and our minds. We head to a park for a celebration, to escape the stress of daily life, to experience the awe and wonder of nature.

Parks are a reflection of our quality of life. Livability surveys cite parks and recreation services as one of the most important factors for a community. A robust system is key in attracting business and talent to our City. We know the proximity of parks to businesses and residences increases property values and desirability. Ask our residents to describe one of their favorite parks, and they light up, for good reason.

The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of the great human principle.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

In Huntsville, we have more than 60 parks on 3,000 acres plus an additional 73 miles of greenways. When you add in Monte Sano State Park, Goldsmith-Schiffman Sanctuary, scenic recreational areas like Ditto Landing and the Flint River, and beautiful outdoor settings in the Huntsville Botanical Garden and Burritt Museum – we’ve got a lot to offer.

Creating and maintaining these parks takes money. A lot of it. One of the biggest challenges is finding enough cash to build them and keep them running. This administration has made parks a priority in our capital budget and has been steadily increasing the amount we spend on our parks & recreation program each year.

We’ve made strong headway in expanding our park system, and we’ve invested unprecendented resources on improvements. Take a look at some of the highlights:

Parks & Recreation Projects 2017 – 2018
$40.3  Million *denotes projects completed

  • Huntsville Aquatics Center *
  • Big Spring Park Renovation *
  • Fernbell Softball Complex *
  • Southside Archery Park *
  • Dog Park – Hampton Cove *
  • Softball Complex – Brahan Spring *
    Showers Center Splash Pad and Showers Center Renovation *
  • Aldridge Creek Greenway Extension *
  • John Hunt Park: Festival area, sand volleyball complex, cross country course, walking paths, U6 soccer complex, mountain biking trail, Iceplex renovations, championship soccer complex expansion, additional parking for Jaycee Community Building and soccer complex
  • John Hunt Park: six additional clay courts for the Huntsville Tennis Center *
  • Merrimack: Four additional regulation soccer/lacrosse fields with artificial turf, renovation of existing 10 natural grass fields
  • Brahan Springs Park: Restroom concessions building for football/lacrosse field, phase II renovation of Aquatics Center Legacy Pool and diving facility, expanded parking for Aquatics Center
  • Mastin Lake Park: Construction of two soccer fields
  • Hampton Cove: New recreation Center – two basketball courts, weight room, meeting space (next to HC middle school)
  • Johnson High School: Recreation Center with expansive fitness areas, rock climbing, community meeting space and multi-sport court area.
  • Sandra Moon Complex: Renovation of athletics fields, converting to three soccer/lacrosse fields
  • Greenways: Building segments of the master-planned, 371 mile greenway network, continue improved connectivity to existing trails through neighborhoods and to new development
  • Ditto Landing: Provide partnership funding for master plan improvements
  • Burritt Museum: Provide partnership funding for new overlook *
  • Hays Nature Preserve: new restroom building, outdoor classroom, new launch sites for canoes and kayaks *

Making a significant investment in parks and recreation facilities and services shows the high value we place on their worth as an important part of our public infrastructure. These aren’t just amenities for our community – they are necessities, for our economic prosperity, health, environment and overall well-being.

Now, let’s #GoPlayHsv!