Hoover City Council on Tuesday evening accepted the donation of approximately 43 acres of parkland along the Cahaba River to Trace Crossings.
Hoover City Administrator Allan Rice said Signature Homes’ donation is the first phase of a donation that will ultimately cover 130 acres, stretch three miles along the Cahaba and be a “game changer. “for the way the city enjoys nature.
The park is called Flemming Park on the Cahaba, named after the man who owned the property for many decades.
“The most unique thing about it is probably that they don’t just give us the land,” Rice said.
Signature Homes has already developed approximately five miles of hiking and biking trails on the property and has built two restrooms and a lodge that can accommodate 30 to 40 people, Signature Homes President Jonathan Belcher said.
All of this is available not only to residents of Trace Crossings, but to the general public, Belcher said.
First 43-acre donation covers approximately 1.5 miles of frontage along the Cahaba River, and by the end of 2022, Signature Homes plans to donate the remaining 87 acres after completing more trails and building a bridge. on the creek that leads from Lake Wilborn to the Cababa, Belcher says.
There will also eventually be a parking lot, but it is not yet open to the public, Belcher said.
The first 43 acres of land are accessible from Flemming Parkway, which passes through Bumpus Middle School and leads into the residential community of Abingdon by the River developed by Signature Homes.
People can now park in the parking lot near the tennis courts at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex and reach Flemming Park via the sidewalks of Buccaneer Drive and Flemming Parkway, Belcher said. In the future, other trails could be added to also create another connection with the northernmost part of the park, he said.
Signature Homes worked with an environmental engineer to remove all invasive plant species from the park and replant native species, Belcher said. The company is committed to maintaining this area for 10 years to ensure that new plant vegetation is well established, he said.
Signature Homes also hopes to work with the Cahaba River Society to build a “blueway” development along this section of the Cahaba in the future, Belcher said.
Including the nearby 73-acre Black Creek Mountain Bike Park that Signature Homes donated to the city in 2019, there are now 10 miles of new hiking and biking trails that are owned by the city and are available to the public, Belcher said.
Rice said the town of Hoover also has an opportunity, through a partnership with the Freshwater Land Trust, to further expand the trails in Flemming Park.
City officials said they were extremely grateful to Signature Homes for donating a prepared park.
“We are very fortunate in Hoover to have a company that repeatedly presents itself as a great corporate citizen,” Rice said. “They do a lot of development here, but they also do a lot of benevolence here.
“I think it’s going to be a game-changer for this city,” Rice said. “I think it will change the way we enjoy nature in the city of Hoover. “
Hoover has more frontage along the Cahaba River than any other city, and “this is an opportunity to responsibly maximize that and use it as a real amenity for residents and visitors,” he said. he declares.
City Councilor Mike Shaw said, “If you read social media, you’d think Hoover didn’t have trees. You know, everything is paved and we hate trees; we don’t want it. But I hope as these things get online and our kids, grandchildren and everyone else can enjoy them, people will see that this city is committed to green spaces and its commits to public use of land like this and working with very generous private developers who are ready to launch a vision like this. It’s exciting to see these things come to fruition.
Council Chairman John Lyda said that as good as Hoover was at setting aside land for park space, he has never capitalized on the shore of the Cahaba River until now.
“It will be a spark and a catalyst to help us do it,” said Lyda. “We are very grateful. “