Pelham City Council approves contract with Gonzalez-Strength and Associates for Blueberry Hill project

Published 11:38 am Thursday, April 21, 2022

By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

PELHAM – The city of Pelham approved a resolution to enter into a contract with Gonzalez-Strength and Associates to develop a master plan for the Blueberry Hill property at its meeting on Monday, April 18.

Through the resolution, Gonzalez-Strength and Associates is designated to provide a master plan for the engineering and design of the Blueberry Hill recreational site located along the west side of I-65 and south of County Road 52 east in Pelham.

“What we would like to propose to Council is a vision that we have that we would like you to share with us, is turning Blueberry Hill into a recreational mecca,” said City Manager Gretchen DiFante. “I feel we need to take advantage of this opportunity because our recreation is what makes Pelham unique.”

DiFante continued that the space would allow the city to build multiple fields for pickle ball, baseball, educational opportunities and more recreational areas that will continue to grow the city’s recreational options.

The master plan will be a combination of recreational and commercial use across the 283 acres of land, including a new City Center commercial development and a new recreational facility all located along the west side of I-65 and south of County Road 52 east in Pelham. The plans will be reviewed throughout several different Design Workshop meetings between GSA and the city.

“I think this property lends itself to this type of project,” said Andre Bittas, the director of Pelham’s planning and engineering. “I believe we’ll get a lot out of it with this project.”

The conceptual plans for the site’s park area include possibilities like pavilions, an educational building, sports fields, a dog park, a splash pad, fishing facilities, exercise facilities, an amphitheater and more. The city center’s conceptual plans include retail spaces such as restaurants and city buildings and potential hotels.

The contract states the company’s planning and engineering services are not to exceed $39,000. The funds will come from $40,000 that was located in the FY 2022 budget for services no longer relevant to the city.

“We’re very excited about this,” DiFante said. “As soon as we started talking about this, I thought, ‘This is it. This is the type of opportunity that’s going to turn around the south side of Pelham.’ When you bring those masses of people in for recreation, the development will follow. The restaurants, the hotels, the retail, it will all follow.”