Since opening Old Mill Park, hundreds of people have experienced the walking trail, playground, pirate-themed splash pad and amphitheater as it blasted a variety of music Friday, Aug. 9. But the community’s initial reaction to the park has been mixed.
After learning the park’s final cost was $3.2 million, The Reporter asked the community: “How do you feel about Boaz spending $3.2 million to build Old Mill Park?” Four hundred eighty-six people responded to the online poll; 25% voted “I feel like it is a good investment,” 29% voted “A good investment, but they shouldn’t have spent so much,” 43% voted “It’s a bad investment,” and 3% voted “I’m not worried about the money.”
With answers to the poll question, many people have also shared their opinion about the new park on The Reporter’s Facebook page:
• “Not worth what they paid … Add picnic tables so us old people can set down when we take our great grandkids. It is a nice little addition to Boaz. But where’s the $3.2 million?” Cindy Smith stated.
• “What would you have had Boaz spend it on if you oppose. This is lasting and fun and looks great,” Cynthia Parker stated.
• “It’s definitely small compared to Albertville’s new park coming soon! For that amount of money there should be a lot more stuff and a lot more land if you ask me. You wouldn’t think it would cost that much to build what they built there. It’s a good ideal yes, but more thought should have been put into it and some of the money should have been used for other things in the city of Boaz!” Kayla Brown stated.
• “They should revamp the old spots in Boaz with all the taxes they are receiving. $3.2 million for a small spot that’s probably only seasonal is a waste of money in my opinion,” Allison Ciara stated.
• “I personally think it is like a breath of fresh air, breathed in by a city on its demise ... Boaz needed this! If people would look at the good and not search for the bad ... Then this would be a better place for all. But there will always be naysayers and those are generally not happy about much of anything […] I am really surprised that the shape the city was in when this administration took over, that we have anything new being built ... I say great job Mayor David Dyar and council. We will rise from the ashes, like a phoenix with its wings spread wide and soar once again ... It’s like the shade in the park ... Gotta sit in the sun a while. Until the trees are grown ... Don’t sweat it enjoy it,” Yvonne Rowan Richey said.
• “For that much money I thought it would be more to it,” Jillian Lynn stated.
• “If we had taken this $3.2 million and the several millions the pool is going to cost we could have built the Aquatic Center that would have brought revenue into the city!” Mitzi Riggins Cooper stated.
Bobby Coffen, store manager of the Piggly Wiggly neighboring Old Mill Park, said he thought it was a great addition to the community. He felt it was too early to talk about many positives or negatives.
“I can say it’s positive for the store and allows ease of access to our customers spending time at the park,” Coffen said. “We’re happy to serve those visiting the park and the entire community. I hope folks are enjoying it out there. I know it’s been awful hot the last few days.”
Old Mill Park is open with access to the walking trail and playground from 5 a.m.-9 p.m. every day. The splash pad is only open Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. To learn more about renting pavilions, contact the Boaz Parks and Recreation Center at 256-593-7862.