Vincent unveils new walking track, park upgrades

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

VINCENT – Upgrades at Vincent Municipal Park are giving residents more outdoor recreation options in the city.

City officials and Vincent Park and Recreation Board members celebrated the opening of a new .8-mile walking track and other improvements at a ribbon cutting ceremony with The Shelby County Chamber on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Funding for the project came from a $96,000 grant included in Shelby County’s Park and Recreation Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2021.

The grant requires a 50-50 match from the county and the city of Vincent.

Park and Recreation Board member Bridgette Jordan Smith recited a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving forward.”

“We have crawled for a very long time, and today we get to fly as we celebrate the success of three projects here that are basically because of the Shelby County Park and Recreation Grant,” she said. “We’re celebrating a walking trail, new equipment to our playground and the regrading of our fields. None of this could be possible if it was not for Mayor (Jim) Latimer and the City Council for allowing us the opportunity to apply for this grant, and then for us to receive the grant from the county, so we are very grateful.”

Jordan Smith said the upgrades were among many short-term and long-term goals the board established for the park starting in 2006.

“It’s always good when you can mark something off of your list,” she said. “Our city is small, so whenever we have the opportunity to celebrate and to bring something new, we’re just very happy about it.”

The short-term goals include a splash pad, a covering for the baseball bleachers, clearing the property behind the pavilion, the creation of a part-time park director, upgrading signage at the walking track and ball fields, a membership with the Alabama Park and Recreation Association and installing a security system.

The long-term goals include a community center, city-operated youth leagues, lights for the football fields, upgrading lighting on the baseball fields and walking track, tennis courts, an additional pavilion, purchasing additional park property, a boardwalk and lake, and renovating the football and pavilion restrooms.

“As we here in Vincent talk about quality of life and improving the quality of life, our park is one of our greatest assets in Vincent,” Jordan Smith said. “Not only is it for the young, but it’s for the young at heart as well. It’s an opportunity for every citizen in Vincent to come out and utilize and enjoy.”