Category Archives: Parks

Off-leash dog park announced for Red Mountain Park thanks to $200,000 contribution

RMP Dog Park MAPTuesday afternoon visitors to Red Mountain Park’s fan page on Facebook were asked to guess the next big thing happening at the 1,200 acre property on the city’s west side. It looks like there will be a lot of happy dogs (& dog owners) based on the responses received and what we know now.

The Terminal has learned that Red Mountain Park is receiving a $200,000 contribution courtesy of a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham to construct of a 6-acre off-leash dog park. Remy’s Dog Park (PDF of site map) will be named in honor of local auctioneer Ken Jackson’s late Jack Russell-Shih Tzu mix. The final total grew from an initial $100,000 allotment to the park from the ‘Mac & Tosh’ donor advised fund established by Jackson in memory of two other pets.

According to a press release, Jackson said, “[t]his is the most gratifying – and fun – endeavor I’ve been involved with” since establishing a fund in Remy’s name for pets and animal services at the Community Foundation in 2010.

The space will be the largest off-leash dog park in the city of Birmingham and will be able to handle both large and small dogs in addition to special needs dogs. It is anticipated to be completed by the end of the year and plans call for amenities including hoses for on-site baths and drinking water for our four-legged friends.

Red Mountain Park’s fund board co-chair, Tom Carruthers, III, recognizes the benefits the newest addition to the park will provide. “Remy’s Dog Park will draw visitors who might not otherwise consider visiting Red Mountain Park for hiking and biking.” He points out that it plays into plans to grow awareness and attendance to the park as well.  “Our strategic plan of development includes multiple destinations appealing to every age group with varied interests.”

Dave Dionne, the park’s executive director, believes that “everything is better when multiple partners joyfully collaborate to provide things our community genuinely needs. Partners who have identified like-minded missions will always have more dynamic outcomes than those working alone.”

To that end, two “Doggie Work Days” are planned for July 13 and 14 to give volunteers an opportunity to help start clearing the park site. They will both take place from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Park officials are encouraging the public to call 205.202.6043 if they are interested in volunteering to prepare the site.

The dates for the work days also happen to coincide with the last two days folks are allowed to vote in Coca-Cola’s fourth annual America is Your Park campaign. Red Mountain Park – and other area parks – are eligible for up to $100,000 in recreation grants based on the numbers of votes received.

Glen Iris Neighborhood Considers Skatepark

crowds growing. Faith Skate Supply/Flickr.Crys Worley, founder of the A.Skate Foundation, presented concepts for a proposed skatepark in George Ward Park at last night’s Glen Iris neighborhood association meeting.

Worley’s foundation teaches autistic children how to skateboard. The organization sets up and run clinics nationwide. It is also currently working with the Lakeshore Foundation and Wounded Warriors as well as working with a UAB study to measure the neurological effects of skateboarding on autistic children.

Members of the neighborhood association and city officials have, as previously reported, had several meetings with Worley to discuss possible sites within the park. The current proposed plan would have the skatepark taking up about one third of the terrace land located between the dog park and the tennis courts. It would take up anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 square feet of space and would cost roughly $450,000 to construct.

Worley explained that the CEO of VANS, Inc., recently visited Birmingham and the company is interested in providing funds for the park (something they have done elsewhere). He also suggested the company is interested in considering the city as a future stop on the popular VANS Warped Tour.

Overall, attendees expressed their support for Worley, A-Skate, and for a skatepark at George Ward both throughout the meeting and afterwards. They did, however, want to ensure that plenty of green space remains in the park.

The biggest concern of the audience at the meeting was that the terrace section is one of the few sections remaining at George Ward that is not dedicated to a specific use. One questioner wondered why Bessie Estell Park, located just west of Epic Elementary School, was not considered. Reasons cited included a lack of parking and noise concerns from the nearby St. Elias Maronite Church.

Those residents present requested Worley return to a future meeting with designs that show what the skatepark’s footprint would look like in relation to the current park layout. They would also like to hear testimonials of other cities who have skateparks in their municipal parks.

Photo: Zero/DGK Tour. Faith Skate Supply/Flickr.

Help clean up George Ward Park on April 27

In the ParkEarly Friday morning we learned a scheduled clean-up of George Ward Park and the Green Springs off-leash dog area is still on for tomorrow at 8 a.m. It sounds like a great way to wrap up National Volunteer Week for 2013.

The current forecast is calling for showers to begin arriving about that time, but they’re hoping they’ll be able to get a large number of folks out in order to finish as quickly as possible. Organizers are asking that volunteers meet in the parking lot between the dog park and the ball field. They’re also asking they wear sturdy shoes or boots and to bring work gloves in addition to any pruners, clippers, etc. They’ll provide safety vests, garbage bags, the dumpster, and ‘picker-uppers.’

We’ll do our best to find out if the clean-up is postponed due to weather (and to notify you via this post in case it happens).

Photo: In the Park. Max Wolfe/Flickr.

The road may be closed, but Railroad Park is not

04042013railroadroadworkThe signs are correct – 1st Avenue South between 14th and 18th Streets South is closed this weekend. It doesn’t, however, mean that the same is true for Railroad Park. It will, in fact, host two fairly large events as its new neighbor across the street, Regions Field, prepares for its first real close-up next Wednesday.

Part of getting this part of the Five Points South neighborhood ready for April 10 involves installing a brick walkway along the park’s southern edge, repaving of 1st Ave., S., and the creation of marked parking spaces along this stretch of pavement. The fan page maintained by the park on Facebook even has pictures of the work being performed. These improvements will not keep those two events previously mentioned from taking place, though folks attending will probably want to plan to allow time to find a spot.

Saturday sees the Southern Environmental Center holding its second ever Darter Festival, complete with the debut of a Darter ale by the folks at Good People Brewing Company, kites, and entertainment throughout the day. Proceeds from the sale of the beer will go towards the restoration and preservation of the watercress darter.

Sunday’s arrival brings with it the Pop Up Bazaar, an event organized by Junior Achievement. It’s actually this year’s installment (and the fourth overall) of Hot Biz in the City, a chance to shop small businesses located throughout metro Birmingham while benefiting the organization’s Young Entrepreneur Scholarship Fund and their JA Be Entrepreneurial program.

As shared by organizers for both events (SEC, JA), alternative parking options exist, and they’re plentiful. Parking at meters along 18th Street, 2nd Ave., S., and elsewhere in the area is possible, and free. Those attending either or both events may also use the Birmingham Parking Authority’s Lot D, located directly across the street from the park’s 18th St.; it will cost $2 to do so with payment possible using quarters or bills.

Fountain Heights’ new rec center well underway

New Fountain Heights rec center under constructionTwo years ago when the Fountain Heights Recreation Center was included on the list of nine such facilities across the city of Birmingham that could potentially be closed as a cost-cutting measure, it’s safe to assume no one would’ve thought we’d be looking at significant progress being made on its new, larger replacement.

Folks driving along I-65 have probably seen the new structure going up on their right as they make their way north in recent months. Bids for the privilege to build the project were due to City Hall early last May – a good reason why sharing a photo of its progress seemed like the right thing to do this afternoon.

According to the original inclusion in the city’s 2008-2012 capital budget, the purpose of the then estimated $1.5 million project (PDF – it’s 681 pages – you’ve been warned – the rendering is on page 1 though), designed by Exford Architects, was to replace the existing gym due to unstable soil and structural fatigue. Based on the original estimate of 245 days to complete the project, we may see folks using it and the park’s new playground by the end of the year.

The greenway system formerly known as Our One Mile…

Greenwood Park in progressProgress continues at the site located just between Tallapoosa and Coosa Sts., I-20/59 and Vanderbilt Road soon to be known as Greenwood Park. It’s one of the pieces of what could be described as a ribbon of green running through the metro Birmingham region if citizens push to see plans revealed tonight (Tuesday) realized.

That’s when the Freshwater Land Trust will publicly unveil what’s been referred to until now as the Our One Mile initiative during an event at the Birmingham Museum of Art. It starts at 5:30 p.m. The event will also include the formal announcement of the winner of the FTH’s Name our Greenway System contest – and the $1,000 that goes with it.

This is a possible game-changer in terms of how people live and move through our region. It’s also a good reason to take a look at one part of town where the pieces are already falling into place for this to happen over on Dear Birmingham.

Random Shots: The sign goes up at Avondale Park

Avondale Park sign goes upThanks to Brian Barrett for letting us use his image of the sign being installed at Avondale Park earlier today.

The sign is part of a nearly $3 million renovation of the park that was mostly completed in November. A dedication ceremony recognizing what had already been completed was held back on November 19.

The project included restoring the park’s amphitheater and its dressing rooms. The property once served as the home to Birmingham’s first zoo.

There are still more things to be done, including the installation of a statue recognizing the park’s most famous resident – Miss Fancy – to stand in front of the sign. For those not familiar with the area around the park, the new sign is located at the northern entrance to the park where 41st Street meets 5th Avenue South.

The date for next year’s Art in Avondale Park has also been announced – probably the first time many will see the improvements. It’ll be held on Saturday, May 5.

Photo: “new sign going up at Avondale Park! #bham” tterrabab/instagram.