The Northport City Council voted to hire the engineering consulting firm TTL to create a master plan for the development of a water park that has long been the dream of council president Jeff Hogg.

Hogg first floated the idea in early 2020, but conversations about building such a facility were slowed down considerably by the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic.

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Hogg was undeterred, though, and in May, the council was presented with a feasibility student that said an 8-acre water park could be reasonably expected to draw more than 50,000 visitors a year. The study also recommended adding an athletic complex to the site that could feature an eight-field baseball and softball center and six more indoor courts for basketball, volleyball and wrestling.

A few months later in September, the council approved the $700,000 purchase of 151 acres of land off Rose Boulevard that is widely expected to be the future home of the water park and sports fields, if the council chooses to go in that direction.

The contract awarded Monday night will pay up to $150,000 to TTL to develop a master plan for the Rose Boulevard property.

"The potential recommended elements are not defined at this point, but could vary and include day-use park activities, overnight accommodations, single event facilities, civic and corporate retreat infrastructure, recreational uses and nature experiences," TTL Executive Vice President Jason Walker wrote in his request bid for the work. "We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the City of Northport in planning this important piece of property due to its location, natural setting and chance to provide the public with something different than what is currently available in the area."

Walker said TTL will work with frequent direction and feedback from city leaders and will facilitate and engage in public involvement sessions if the council desires.

The measure passed the five-member council unanimously.

For updates on the development of the Rose Boulevard property in Northport, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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