The City of Albertville will announce the final details of the city’sparks and recreation department’s new Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater Thursday afternoon.
Albertville will unveil its final plans and renderings for the complex on Thursday from 2-4 p.m. at the Fine Arts Center on the campus of Albertville High School.
After 18 months of listening to members of this community and working with experts from around the state in sports and entertainment facilities, the City of Albertville has officially broken ground on the new 129-acre, approximately $58 million Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater. The park design, which has been led by the team of Chambless King Architects, incorporates state of the art athletics, as well as many age and all-ability inclusive features that are meant to serve both Albertville and Marshall County as a whole.
John Chambless, of Chambless King Architects, said the new Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater was so named in order to signal to all of Marshall County that this is their home too.
“We designed this park to be a boost to the economies of all of Marshall County as well as Albertville by making sure we have the perfect balance of athletics and community designed facilities,” Chambless said.
The city parks and recreation department and past administrations have worked through various development plans for years but until recently the economy wasn’t strong enough to make them feasible. “Albertville is the largest city in Marshall County, and we have similar facilities to the cities in the surrounding region, but four times the population. We saw a need that the Parks and Recreation needed to grow in order to keep up with the growth of our city.” — Phillip Formby
Aside from improving the offerings to the youth Parks and Recreation programs though, the state of the art athletic facilities should serve a broader sports community currently underserved in the region. For many in our community, weekends are filled with travel for high-level competition in sports be it baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, or tennis. This is mainly due to the lack of tournament quality facilities in the Albertville area. This park has been designed with features like all-weather turf and supporting practice features travel teams demand in order to attract what is considered sports tourism which is a huge driver of increases of sales tax revenue, as well as a driver of hotel and restaurant development.
But beyond athletics, it became clear to the city leadership that just attracting outside baseball and softball tournaments wasn’t what the city of Albertville desired. There was also a strong desire in Albertville residents that this place should improve all citizens quality of life. To do this Chambless King designed the park itself to feel more like a park at the center of a community, than a sports complex.
In addition to the athletic facilities you would expect from a sports complex, Sand Mountain Park will include a one of a kind aquatics area for all age levels featuring a splash pad, lazy river, outdoor lap pool, slides, and wading pool. Also, multiple playgrounds, nature trails, a disc golf course, and public soccer, basketball, and tennis facilities. The goal in all of this was to make sure features like these were accessible to various ages and abilities, even when there were competitive tournaments going on, so that the park could always serve both regional and local communities.
The park also features a 9,000 person amphitheater with the ability to host everything from national acts to local performances from the school band and choirs. Albertville is famous across the region for its hosting of the Main City Music Fest and this additional venue just further reinforces that Albertville is a music town.
“We wanted to make sure that this park wasn’t just a sports complex, but it met the needs of the entire community. After financial planning over the last seven years, and getting ourselves into position, we’ve realized we had the economics to bring this park into reality.” — Jill Oakley
“We’ve looked at not just the operating costs, but overall maintenance costs, to make sure we can sustain these additional facilities for years to come.” — Ben McGowan
“For many years, it's been clear that upgrades needed to be made to the Sports and Recreation Complex in Albertville. As we listened to our community and looked at the types of things that we thought we could bring to this project, we realized the funding mechanisms were in place for it to all come together.” — Tracy Honea
Construction and demolition have already begun at the new Sand Mountain Park and construction of the fields and facilities has been planned meticulously to expedite construction in every way possible. RA-LIN Construction and Carmon Construction have both been contracted to work in concurrent phases of construction in order to keep construction costs as minimal as possible, but also make this dream into a reality as quickly as possible.
“There’s no way that a project of this size and scale could be done by just a few people, working with the high school, members of the business and construction communities, and the athletic community to make sure this park had everything this community deserves was critical. The support of this community has been phenomenal. And I really appreciate the folks in this community entrusting us enough to move forward with this kind of project.” — Mayor Tracy Honea
For more information on programs, features, or construction and development timelines, please check sandmountainpark.com which will be kept up to date monthly with information for Albertville. You can also follow Sand Mountain Park on instagram @sandmountainpark.