Upgrades are officially underway to improve Tuscaloosa's Snow Hinton Park, which local leaders have described as a welcome mat for the city.

On McFarland Boulevard near University Mall, Midtown Village, the University of Alabama campus and more, the park is highly visible and sprawling but largely empty today.

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As the Thread exclusively reported in October, the Tuscaloosa city council has approved spending $10 million to improve the park, adding a walking Ellipse and central plaza, new pavillions, expanded parking and tons of beautification features.

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The project officially got underway Thursday morning with a 9 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony led by Mayor Walt Maddox, Council President Kip Tyner, Councilor John Faile and Peggy Hogue, the daughter of former Tuscaloosa Mayor Snow Hinton.

“Today it is right, it is proper, it is just that we break ground on a $10.2 million investment to a park named after the most consequential leader in our community’s history,” said Mayor Walt Maddox. “Today’s investment is about a commitment to parks and recreation in Tuscaloosa and a commitment to honor a man who gave of himself to make certain this community would be better for generations to come.”

The Elevate project is expected to be completed sometime in 2024.

Faile, who vocally defended the project's price tag in October, said it will be transformative for the area.

“This will be the Central Park of Tuscaloosa,” he said. “When people drive down this road they’re going to have a ‘wow’ moment when they see it.”

(City of Tuscaloosa)
(City of Tuscaloosa)
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“Our City has changed greatly over the past 40 years, but one thing that has not changed is the continued support and commitment of our City leadership and community as a whole, to ensure that Snow Hinton Park remains a beautiful focal point in our community,” said Peggy Hogue. “Today my family and I simply say thank you to all who have loved and supported this park over the years and a special thank you to our current City Council.”

For more from the city council, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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