Vestavia Hills embarking on massive project to improve recreation and infrastructure

Vestavia Hills embarking on massive project to improve recreation and infrastructure

VESTAVIA HILLS, AL (WBRC) - A new community center, a new pool, improved parks and ball fields, a new senior center and sidewalks.

All of it, and more, is just part of a 58 million dollar project set to get underway in Vestavia Hills.

"People will see a total transformation of Highway 31 and the western area of Vestavia hills," says City Manager Jeff Downes. "This is a very aggressive and ambitious plan. A plan that's so ambitious its probably the largest this city has ever tried to accomplish."

It's a plan, that kicked off this week, when the City Council reached an agreement with Gold's Gym to terminate their lease early. The building, will be turned into a new community center. Golds Gym agreed to pay the city $500,000 to end the lease early, which Downes says that money will give the project a jump start.

"It means we will see programming in that building probably in a year and a half or two, instead of three to four years from now," says Downes. "We have more demand for spaces. Right now,  We have events with high school children where they have to go to  Homewood and Birmingham to experience prom and fundraisers and the things that bring communities together. We want to have these things in our community."

The new community center, will be adjacent to city hall.

The project also calls for improvements to Wald Park, which will include a new swimming pool, tennis courts and green space, as well as upgrades to ball fields and the addition of Miracle league fields for disabled children.

The project stretches to Cahaba Heights– where the existing ball fields will be replaced with new updating fields, additional green space and new senior center.

There are also plans to widen cross haven drive from The Summit to Overton Road to create an artery for traffic flow.

"All recreation assets will receive a facelift. We are taking care of storm water, sidewalk, and roadway needs throughout the city" says Downes.

The much discussed walkover bridge connecting Wald park to The city's public Library is also part of the project, as well as new sidewalks and trails.

"Throughout the city sidewalks to will be added to make it easier to go from residential areas to commercial areas. This is something we are extremely proud of," says Downes. "This will knit all the assets together and create a core area for a our city. On area that will serve as a catalyst for further growth."

As part of the plan, the city's old public works building is being sold, and a new Baumhower's Restaurant and other retail will be moving into the space.

"The energy creates enthusiasm and that brings more develop to our community," says Downes.

This is a plan that's been five years in the making, and will likely take five to ten years to fully execute.

It also costs money, which will come from taxpayers.

The city passed a one sales tax increase in April, from 9 cents to 10 cents, which goes into effect in early June. Lodging tax is also going up, in fact all of the city's common taxes went up incrementally to support the project.

"It's a very exciting time in Vestavia hills," says Downes.

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.