Rec Master Plan

Expanded parking, renovation of the fields and possibly a "pedestrian underpass" for Highway 69 are part of the master plan for Guntersville Parks & Rec renovations proposed by Barge Design. The price tag on the renovations has been estimated at about $17 million. The tentative plan is to do the work in phases over several years using the city's portion of the new sales tax that went into effect this summer. 

Barge Design has presented a $17 million Parks and Rec renovation program to the Guntersville City Council. 

They're expected to consider adopting the park master plan at their Sept. 16 meeting. It will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Town Hall rather than the customary 6 p.m. 

The preliminary design above speaks for itself, but we will point out the features that correlate to the numbers:

The number 1 corresponds to proposed entrances to the Rec Center, tennis courts and ball park. The parking there will be expanded (3).

The ball fields next to the tennis courts will be configured differently to get 3 fields in that space. 

If you look behind the Rec Center gym, a splash pad will be added near the existing swimming pools. 

Also, the walking trail will be extended to run behind the Rec Center and pools. 

A "pedestrian underpass" has been proposed for crossing Highway 69. City leaders have worried about bikers and walkers crossing the busy 4-lane, especially children. 

Steven Fritts and Garett Younanian of Barge Design cautioned that studies still have to be done on the feasibility of such a project. For one thing, they have to check the water table to see if pumps would be needed to keep the underpass dry. ALDOT would also have to approve the underpass plan. 

If it is built, the men said it would be built 2 lanes at a time so one lane could be kept open for each direction of travel going on the highway. 

The underpass adds almost $1 million to the overall price of the park upgrades. 

East of Highway 69, you'll note the designers have proposed "cleaning up" the traffic at the corner by Tom Jackson Park. Park traffic would enter the parking area further down Sunset Drive. 

Traffic for the boat ramp would enter off Highway 69. Again, ALDOT would have to approve those changes.

The large ballfield complex that includes Ogletree Park and Bill Moore Field would be reconfigured to allow for central gate control. Rec Center director Matt Bryant said that is a must for the city to be able to host big tournaments. 

New restrooms, concession buildings and pavilions are also included in the plans. 

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