Alabaster council OKs engineering costs for Veterans Park project

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City Council at a meeting on Monday, Oct. 7, formalized a partnership with the Shelby County Commission to make improvements to Veterans Park and approved a contract with Gonzalez-Strength and Associates for design work related to the project.

The project is expected to cost a total of $1.7 million. When the city approved its fiscal year 2020 budget in mid-September, it included a $1.1 million allocation for upgrades at Veterans Park. The city’s total contribution toward the project will be $1.4 million. The Shelby County Commission has agreed to contribute $300,000 toward the project.

The expansion of the park includes a new entrance sign, additional parking, more athletic fields, realigning the park entrance and adding turn lanes on Alabama 119.

Per Alabama Department of Transportation requirements, a right turn lane will be added to the southbound lane of Alabama 119 and a left turn lane will be added to the northbound lane. Engineering firm Gonzalez-Strength and Associates was hired by the city for $26,600 to prepare concept drawings and cost estimates that will be submitted to ALDOT for preliminary approval.

In September 2017, the City Council voted to purchase about 16 acres of property between the park and Alabama 119. The property owner also donated some land to the city. The currently vacant land, where the new athletic fields will be located, is split by the access road leading into the park from Alabama 119. As a safety precaution, Mayor Marty Handlon said the park entrance will be moved to the perimeter of the property so that traffic is not traveling through the athletic fields.

The city is now in the process of clearing the property to prepare for grading.

“We are so excited to be moving forward with this project as well as the Abbey Wooley Park project,” Handlon said.

The city allocated $315,000 in the FY 2020 budget to help fund upgrades at Abbey Wooley Park. Handlon said the city has also applied for a grant for up to $50,000 to help cover costs.

“We will continue to move forward with the Abbey Wooley project, but if we don’t get the grant, we may have to modify the scope of the project,” she said. “But upgrades will be made either way.”

At Abbey Wooley Park, the city hopes to redo the basketball court and make it bigger, build new restrooms and install better lighting.