Alabaster holds ribbon cutting to celebrate new additions to Veterans Park

Published 5:20 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2021

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By WILLIAM MARLOW | Special to the Reporter 

ALABASTER – City leaders officially debuted new additions to Veterans Park in Alabaster with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 12. Among the expansions are several multi-purpose sports fields, a new entrance and an extended walking trail.

During the event, Mayor Scott Brakefield reflected on the project’s development, which initially began in 2019 under Marty Handlon’s administration.

“We took her vision and kind of put it on steroids, and truly turned it into a labor of love, just because of all the obstacles that kind of got in our way,” Brakefield said. “So, I greatly appreciate everybody’s patience and perseverance throughout this project because it truly is something that is going to last and it’s something that our residents are truly going to enjoy.”

Brakefield also commended the City Council’s ongoing support during the project, which initially allocated $1.1 million for upgrades at the park in 2019. Since that time, Brakefield said the project had ballooned to a nearly $5-million development.

Fred Hawkins, director of engineering and building services, also noted the city’s numerous partnerships that had spurred the project’s development over the past two years, including state, county and local leaders.

“It’s really been an effort that we’re all excited to see come to a successful conclusion,” Hawkins said. “We had a lot of partners in this project, which is really amazing. The county, the mayor and everybody have really made this project a success, and what started out as a small dream has really grown into a really big project.”

Hawkins specifically noted former County Manager Alex Dudchock and current County Manager Chad Scroggins for their collaboration on the project, and highlighted the county’s contributions to the park, which included stadium lights along the park’s new sports fields and the construction of a new entrance.

Previously, the park’s entrance had been located down the middle of the property but has since been moved farther down Highway 119.

Among the city’s other partners included the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Alabaster Water Board and Barge Design Solutions, which designed many of the new additions to the park.

Ward Williams of the Shelby County Commission and State Sen. April Weaver also supported the project and were present during the ceremony.

Following Hawkins, Parks and Recreation Director Tim Hamm concluded the ceremony saying he was glad to see the park’s full potential finally realized.

“This project has been a long time coming. We’ve had property out here for years due to the entrance, but we didn’t own anything on either side of it so we were really handcuffed,” Hamm said. “Once we were able to acquire that land, we started planning and trying to figure out what we could do to maximize this facility for the citizens of Alabaster.”

Among the park’s many upgrades are a nearly 20-acre expansion to the park, increasing the property’s total size to well over 100 acres, as well as six multi-purpose fields, wo artificial turf soccer fields and a new parking lot.

The city also nearly doubled the park’s walking trail from 2.8 miles to 5 miles.

Overall, Brakefield described the opening as a great day for the city of Alabaster, saying the new multi-purpose sports fields will immediately benefit Alabaster City Schools as the school district can host more school competitions and tournaments at the park.

“We can host multiple events in the city and bigger events, bringing more people to our city to showcase everything that’s going on here,”Brakefield said. “I think it’s a good example of our city government telling our residents that we’re not going to settle for the smaller projects anymore. If we really want to be a first-class city, then we need to have first-class things.”

Brakefield noted ACS Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers and members of the Alabaster City School Board of Education, who attended the ceremony as well.