County park in works for Alabaster

Alabaster will be the site of Shelby County’s newest and largest park, county officials announced Monday at a groundbreaking for another project already under way &045; Chelsea Recreational Park.

Alabaster Sports Complex, a joint project between the city of Alabaster and Shelby County, will be the largest park project yet to be undertaken by the county, covering some 100 acres of property along Highway 31 in Alabaster just south of the Saginaw community.

Alabaster officials have

planned for several years to build a park complex at the land across from BellSouth.

The county, Dudchock said, saw Alabaster’s proposed project as a chance for the city and county to work together.

&uot;The (Alabaster) park will be bigger than Heardmont (Park),&uot; Dudchock said. &uot;And it will be just minutes from three Shelby County communities &045; Alabaster, Calera and Columbiana.&uot;

Heardmont Park, located in North Shelby County on Alabama Highway 119, is currently the largest county park, covering some 75 acres.

Dudchock said Heardmont will be used as a model for the new Alabaster park which he said will cost an estimated $3 million over several phases.

&uot;We are in the process of finalizing the engineering and construction design,&uot; he said.

Heardmont Park features a senior center, a walking trail, several athletic fields and a playground area and has been lauded as an exemplary project by many counties and municipalities statewide.

A highlight of the Alabaster Sports Complex, Dudchock said, will be a &uot;Spray Park&uot; which is a circular area where children and adults can cool off while water shoots from the ground into the air. One of the main features of Olympic Park in Atlanta is a &uot;Spray Park.&uot;

Other features in the new park, county officials said, include a five-field Dixie Youth baseball complex including pressbox and concessions, a four-field softball complex also including a pressbox and concessions, a two-field soccer complex, a skateboard/bike park, a paved walking and exercise trail, a pad area for a commercial office building/community services kitchen, a raised nature walkway with observation decks and a playground area.

Groundbreaking in Chelsea

In ceremonies on Monday, Shelby County and city of Chelsea officials gathered for a groundbreaking of Phase I of Chelsea Recreational Park, a joint project between the city of Chelsea and the county.

The 32-acre park, already under construction, is located on Highway 39 and will be constructed in two phases.

Dudchock and Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven Sr. announced the start of Phase I of the project, which will include a playground, picnic pavilions, a paved walking trail, a play meadow, parking lots and an athletic field. The project could be complete in six months, officials said.

Niven said Phase II will include four baseball/softball fields, tennis courts and additional picnic areas and parking. Phase II will be developed over the coming years following the completion of Phase I.

&uot;We are proud to be the ‘No. 1’ Traditional Family Town in the State of Alabama,&uot; Niven said. &uot;The Chelsea Recreational Park will provide a facility for family gatherings as well as athletic activities. Shelby County is doing an excellent job in assisting municipalities in the development of recreational parks.&uot;

The projected cost of Phase I, Dudchock said, is $486,825, which was the initial construction bid awarded to R.P. Bradley Construction Inc.

Chelsea, Niven said, will contribute $150,000 toward the cost of Phase I.

Other Projects

Dudchock led county officials on a tour of all the park projects currently under construction on Monday. A van-load of county commissioners made stops at Gorman Park on the Coosa River in Vincent, which is near completion; Cahaba Lily Park in Helena; and the recently announced Fun Go Holler Park in Pelham.

&uot;It won’t be long and we will have 11 county parks either completed or under construction in only nine years time,&uot; Dudchock said