City leaders in Northport approved Master Plans for two new recreational spaces Monday night, passing another milestone on the path to bringing a riverside sportsplex and a new outdoor adventure park to the city.

They also hired  ProParks Management to design and begin building their municipal water park.

The steps forward come after more than a year of momentum toward the Monday night votes. City councilman Jeff Hogg, who also chairs the city's retail development committee, has long been pushing to bring a water park to Northport and last year, the city purchased 151 acres of land off Rose Boulevard that was widely expected to house the park.

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Since then, though, Hogg and other city leaders have shown a far grander vision and said earlier this year that the city wants to build three separate facilities -- the water park, the outdoor adventure park and the sportsplex. 

The council approved Master Plans for the adventure park and sportsplex Monday night, bringing both one step closer to realization.

The outdoor adventure space will come to the 151-acre site and is set to feature walking trails, cabins, a lake feature, zip-lines, a retreat space for corporations and other entities and more.

(Jeff Hogg)
(Jeff Hogg)

The master plan for the sportsplex calls for huge expansions and additions at Kentuck Park, including pickleball courts, a tennis facility, baseball fields and more, all built to stretch to the northern banks of the Black Warrior River.

The city aims to add a grass amphitheater, tournament-ready sports fields including two that directly overlook the river, new walking trails and more.

Check out the map below of the more than a dozen planned additions to Kentuck Park or check them out in full detail at the city's website here. 

(City of Northport)
(City of Northport)

Finally, the water park got its designers and builders in ProParks Management, and Hogg said they are aiming for a May 2024 opening.

The council leader said it was validating to vote on measures all in the same meeting, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the city's nascent plans in 2020.

"Whether it's the adventure park, the sports complex or the water park, they all come together to be something that is not only for our citizens but also to bring additional people here to find out exactly what Northport has to offer," Hogg said. "We see this as being a catalyst for additional sit-down restaurants. We see this as being a catalyst for hotels and various other things that might come along such as shopping and retail in our city. You'll see a lot of people passing through coming to sports tournaments or going to retreats at the adventure park or just coming to have a good time at the water park with their families. So this is a win-win for everyone here, not only citizens, but just people from all around the surrounding area."

Up next for the parks projects, the city will begin estimating the costs of the amenities they want to add and look for ways to fund them, including grants and Northport First tax dollars, then bid out the work.

Top Stories from the Tuscaloosa Thread (12/5 - 12/12)

17 of the Top Stories published by the Tuscaloosa Thread during the week of December 5th, 2022.

Gallery Credit: (Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

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