By Jennie Robinson
Huntsville City Council, District 3
In the spring and summer, our thoughts turn to time spent outside with family and friends. We recently approved three projects that will create more outdoor spaces in South Huntsville.
A construction contract for a new playground at the Sandra Moon Complex has been approved and dirt is already moving. The playground will be built between the new South Library and the Performing Arts Center. There are not too many playgrounds on the north end of Bailey Cove Road so this will be a welcome addition for the community. Many thanks to County Commissioner Phil Riddick for helping fund the playground.
The contract also includes a new road that will make it possible to drive into the ball fields and pickle ball courts in back of the Sandra Moon Complex. A sidewalk around the road will make it possible to walk to ball games, pickle ball matches, the library and Moon Center performances. Parking, lighting, and landscaping are also part of the contract.
A new sports park was also approved for the Hays Farm area. It will be right across from Grissom High School and will feature two lighted fields, a pavilion, and rest rooms. Access to the fields will be via the tunnel under Haysland Road. The fields can be used by the public, by sports clubs, and by Grissom teams and the band. This park is also adjacent to the nearly 10 miles of trails and 65 acres of lakes in the Hays Farm development.
An urban park at Hays Farm was also approved as part of the development agreement between the Hays family and the City. The 9 acre park will be in the middle of the development and will be surrounded by an office tower, luxury apartments, and an entertainment district. It will feature a 6 acre lake as well as areas for outdoor performances, water features, a playground, and landscaping. Surrounding offices, apartments, and restaurants will all look out over the park and lake. When the cost of building the park skyrocketed to $5.6 million, the City and the Hays family each contributed an additional $1 million to ensure that the park could be built according to the original plan.
We are grateful for the Hays family’s ongoing partnership with the City. The Hays Nature Preserve in Hampton Cove was the family’s first effort to donate land and create a wonderful outdoor experience for the neighborhoods they were building. The Hays Green Park System in Hays Farm continues that legacy and provides access to greenspace with a primitive park, a nature preserve, an urban park, and a sports park.
Huntsville is fortunate to have mountains, riverfront, miles of greenways, and many parks in all areas of the city. We are also blessed to have great partners like Commissioner Phil Riddick and the Hays Family who share our vision for great places to play and spend time with family. We look forward to enjoying these newest additions to the City’s quality of life offerings.