A gap between two of Huntsville’s largest parks may soon be bridged, uniting memories of years gone by with hopes for the future.
At its regular July 8 meeting, Huntsville City Council approved the second of two green steel bridges to be installed this year at Brahan Spring Park. The bridges will connect the park’s walking trail to the Huntsville Aquatic Center by spanning the spillway at the southern end of the Brahan Spring Lagoon.
The teams recently installed the first greenway bridge as part of the Spring Branch Greenway project. It will transport walkers and cyclists across a stream from Brahan Spring Park to Huntsville Spring Branch to access John Hunt Park. With these new links, the City is getting closer to its goal of connecting Rocket City via the greenway system.
“Ultimately, you will be able to use the new connection to travel from John Hunt to Brahan Spring, then to Lowe Mill and finally downtown,” City Administrator John Hamilton said.
By the end of the year, thanks to the City’s latest efforts, two of the City’s most famous parks will be within walking or cycling distance of each other.
And, with South Huntsville Parks hosting events regionally and nationally this year, it’s the future of these parks that is capturing everyone’s attention.
Connect yesterday and today
In Brahan Spring, the Huntsville Aquatic Center is making headlines these days. However, it is the days spent at Brahan Spring Lagoon that many citizens remember the most.
For over 30 years, Brahan Spring Park housed the Sertoma Playground. Pedal boats, roller coasters, Ferris wheel and other kid-friendly rides have left thousands of visitors fond memories. Visitors to the park could even take the Casey Jones train, which carried passengers around the Brahan Spring Lagoon. With 18 rides in all, the park was a popular destination in the Town of Rocket for over three decades before closing in 1998.
Today, the city plans to remodel the lagoon to improve landscaping and make Brahan Spring Park a must-see attraction in the Town of Rocket.
“We will continue to work on transforming the park over the next several years,” said Hamilton. “We have developed a master plan for Brahan Spring (Park) that requires us to make continuous changes that will make it more usable and better looking. Bringing these parks together today will help Huntsville grow even stronger tomorrow.
The greenway link
The Spring Branch Greenway project, which consists of a new greenway for approximately three-quarters of a mile, is currently under construction and nearly 75% complete. It will be adjacent to the creek for most of the trail between the two parks.
However, the project bringing together two of the City’s most popular destinations will require a bit more work before it opens to the public later this summer.
“Greenways are typically built along the banks of our streams, making us dependent on weather and site conditions for completion,” said Kathy Martin, director of City Engineering. “The new bridge is complete and we are currently working on the construction of the 12-foot-wide multi-use trail, which will then be connected to an existing sidewalk along Johnson Road leading directly to John Hunt Park. Although construction is weather dependent, this section of the new greenway could be ready for use in early August. “
Once both bridges are completed, those who use them will have direct walking or cycling connectivity between the two parks.
This new link will also connect residents and visitors to popular destinations such as the John Hunt Park Championship Sports Complexes and the Aquatic Center. In addition, the city will add the refurbished Joe W. Davis Stadium to its arsenal by fall 2022. City leaders predict that the new “Joe”, located at the north end of John Hunt Park, will host everything. , from minor league football to high school football. .
“City parks have been and will continue to crown the sport’s champions at all levels of competition,” said Bernita Reese, Director of Parks and Recreation. “It allows people not only to be part of the change, but also to become active users of the change. “