Pelham cuts ribbon to open Park 124

Published 2:07 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – A large number of Pelham’s residents and city officials gathered on the grounds of the city’s newest park—located behind Campus No. 124—for a grand opening celebration that welcomed the latest addition to the city’s list of public amenities on Saturday, June 8.

Following the culmination of months of effort and the combined dedication of many of Pelham’s city departments, crowds gathered at the park for a public celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place at 4:30 p.m.

Brian Cooper, Pelham Parks & Recreation director, spoke first at the event and expressed his personal gratitude toward all in the city and its various project partners whose collective efforts and vision brought the park to fruition.

“I want to thank our City Council for having the vision to put this park together,” Cooper said. “We have some great partners on all of our projects, including the Shelby County Parks and Recreation Authority, who helps us clear all these parks and do all of the work that gets us ready. I (also) want to thank the Pelham Police Department for being here today and the Pelham Parks and Recreation board for their support.”

Cooper further thanked the Pelham’s Public Works Department, Parks and Recreation Department, the Pelham Office of Economic Development and the Pelham Office of Communications for their work in the park’s development and construction and for aiding in the delivery of Park 124’s grand opening celebration.

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters then invited Austin Schrimsher to speak at the ceremony and detailed to the crowd that it was Schrimsher’s family that repurposed the former Valley Elementary School into Campus No. 124 and ultimately helped to create the precedence for the development of Park 124.

“This is a great community and we are excited about what is going to happen here (at the park),” Schrimsher said.

The city also partnered with a number of local businesses that call Campus No. 124 home in the delivery of the community celebration. Those businesses included: The Beer Hog, Half Shell Oyster House, Valhalla Board Game Café, Continuous Load Path Systems and The Guy’s Place.

Half Shell Oyster House provided visitors with grilled oysters and hamburgers that were made to order and free of charge. The Beer Hog provided a variety of beverages procured strictly for the event and Campus No. 124’s newest resident, Valhalla Board Game Café, offered visitors snacks and helped to supply some of the lawn games which included Jenga, Connect 4, cornhole and a variety of target throwing activities.

Younger guests were also treated with a “Kid’s Zone” complete with bounce houses and other activities that kept them occupied throughout the entirety of the event’s runtime.

Hit Different Barbeque and Grill, El Compa Taco Truck and Kona Ice of Birmingham were also present at the event and helped to serve food to the event thanks to the large turnout.

“It is exciting to be out here—it is a good afternoon and we want to welcome everyone (to the park),” City Council President Maurice Mercer said. “All I want to echo and say is that it is just awesome to be here. When I think about our park system, I think about relaxation, recreation, exercise and bringing our community together for an enhanced quality of life. That is for you all and we appreciate everyone joining us here today. Thank you for all you do to support the city and let’s have some fun.”

Mercer also publicly thanked State Rep. Kenneth Paschal, County Commissioner Ward Williams and members of the Parks and Recreation Board for their presence at the ceremony and for their support in making the park a reality.

Following the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon by Waters, the event’s two scheduled bands—The Caps and The Gore Brothers—took over and led the crowd throughout the evening’s festivities until its conclusion at 9 p.m.

Now open to the public, Park 124 will not only supplement Campus No. 124 but will also serve as one of the connected points along Pelham’s ongoing Greenway Trail Project which will link a large number of the city’s most visited locations together via walking trails. Once completed, Park 124, the Pelham City Park complex, the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena, The Canopy and Oak Mountain State Park will all be linked and accessible via foot traffic.