Officials break ground on Pelham’s rec center

PELHAM – The construction of Pelham’s two-story recreation center officially began Wednesday, Jan. 25, as Mayor Gary Waters and the Pelham City Council broke ground at the site.

City employees, Pelham Board of Education members, Pelham City Schools Superintendent Scott Coefield and County Manager Alex Dudchock were also in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Mayor Gary Waters said beginning the construction of the roughly 35,000-square-foot rec center is another sign of growth within the city.

Waters said of all the things he and the council have done together over the last four years, one of the most politically controversial and important moves the council made was passing a resolution stating that Belle Vista Mobile Home Park must be vacated and would no longer be used for housing.

Without making that move, Waters said growth within Pelham City Park wouldn’t have been possible.

City Council President Rick Hayes said the groundbreaking was a huge day for the city.

“This is a phenomenal thing for our city and something people thought wouldn’t happen for us for many years,” Hayes said. “We’re finally going to have a downtown area where the entire community can come together.”

Pelham Parks and Recreation Director Billy Crandall said the rec center will feature a regulation size basketball court, a multipurpose conference room, concessions, male and female locker rooms, a dance classroom, weight room and a spin class room, among other amenities.

The exterior of the facility will include lighted outdoor basketball and sand volleyball courts, a dog park, a pavilion and a trailhead that will one day go all the way to Oak Mountain State Park. Crandall said he also hopes to redo the playground at the park, which is more than 20 years old.

“Our goal was to include things that would appeal to a variety of people,” Crandall said. “If people don’t think that Pelham is moving up – they’re wrong. They’re just wrong.”

Once the construction of the rec center is complete, Hayes said children in Pelham will have a safe place to go and will no longer have to travel to Alabaster or Helena to get to a rec center.

In September the City Council accepted a $5.97 million bid from Blalock Building Company for the construction of the recreation center.

The city hopes to have the rec center completed and the majority of the new library’s exterior constructed by the time the new middle school opens in August 2017 so that there isn’t any major construction happening in the vicinity of students.