Master plan update under way for OMSP

The Alabama DCNR, Shelby County and the city of Pelham are partnering to update the master plan for Oak Mountain State Park. (File)

The Alabama DCNR, Shelby County and the city of Pelham are partnering to update the master plan for Oak Mountain State Park. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Members of the Shelby County Commission attended a Nov. 17 Pelham City Council work session to hear the first public Oak Mountain State Park master planning presentation given by Shelby County Planning Services Supervisor Christie Pannell-Hester and County Manager Alex Dudchock.

An updated plan for the future of the 10,000-acre park will be created through a partnership with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Shelby County and the city of Pelham.

“It’s a phenomenal asset to the state and it’s a phenomenal opportunity for us,” City Council President Rick Hayes said. “It’s just a great opportunity for us to get involved with. It’s updating it and taking it to the next level.”

Pannell-Hester explained the county has already examined and assessed the park’s infrastructure, amenities and facilities. The next step in the planning process is getting the public involved in order to determine what park users would like to see and get out of Oak Mountain State Park.

Pannell-Hester noted several possible additions to the park, including year-round universal recreation tents called yurts, a tree-house lodging concept, mini golf, zip lines, barn square dancing and a skeet range, among other things.

“We want to hear it,” Dudchock said, encouraging the public to participate in the process and express ideas for the future of the park.

There are several ways for the public to get involved. A public survey to gather feedback was released on Nov. 17. Pannell-Hester explained it is a “logic-based” survey, enabling participants to only answer questions about park amenities and activities they are familiar with. The survey will be available online until Jan. 17, 2015, and can be found at PlanOMSP.DiscoverShelby.com.

“We’re really excited to have an online survey; it will be open to the general public,” Pannell-Hester said. “We’re trying to get the word out to everyone. This is a state park, and we want to include everyone.”

Public meetings regarding the plan will be held during the Nov. 24 Shelby County Commission meeting, the Nov. 25 Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Prayer Breakfast and a Dec. 8 open house event in the community room of the Shelby County Services Building.

Finally, Dudchock encouraged anyone with comments, questions and suggestions to email Masterplan@shelbyal.com. More information about the planning project can be found online at Planomsp.DiscoverShelby.com.