American Village reopens showcases improvements

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The American Village in Montevallo is planning a &8220;grand reopening&8221; this weekend to coincide with the opening of the Southern Living Showcase Home.

The history park has actually been open since Sept. 5, but Village planners say the Oct. 14-15 festival is a nice way to cap off a new era at the American Village.

&8220;With the grand reopening, our visitors will find new ways of experiencing the Village,&8221; said Tom Walker, executive director. &8220;There&8217;s never been a better time for students and schools groups to visit the American Village than this fall.&8221;

The park shut down in early July to complete several construction projects, including adding more buildings and renovating existing ones.

&8220;This weekend will be a huge celebration,&8221; said Linda Long, communications and marketing director. Festival plans include a craft fair, musical performances and a Yorktown anniversary reenactment.

The centerpiece of the new facilities will be the Southern Living Showcase House, to be known as the James B. and Sylvia S. Braswell President&8217;s Home.

A replica of the country&8217;s first presidential mansion in Philadelphia, this home will be open for tours, dinners, receptions and other meetings.

Other projects include expanding the Presidents&8217; Classroom into a full size replica of the Oval Office and restoring the water damaged wooden exterior of the Mt. Vernon replica, Washington Hall.

The Village is also adding an orientation center that will be the first-stop for visitors and a support building that will house a library and be used for research and programs.

Final plans include expanded parking, more streets, sidewalks and landscaping.

Besides the approximate $2 million in current constructions and renovations underway, the Village plans to receive bids later this fall for a $3 million expansion to the visitors&8217; center.

The park will be open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15. Admission is $10 four adults, $5 for students (this weekend only), and children under four get in free. Admission includes both tours of the Southern Living Showcase Home and the Village.