SPRINGVILLE -- The City Council approved an agreement Monday night that will set aside 382 acres for a Forever Wild Park.
City attorney James Hill III said the property is near Homestead Hollow and will provide public access to Big Canoe Creek.
Mayor William “Butch” Isley said The Friends of Big Canoe has played a big role in helping make the project a reality, working on it for almost a decade.
“There are some state grants for the building of trails, and I know you will be at the forefront of helping us get those grants,” Isley told members of the board of directors of The Friends of Big Canoe Creek, who were present at Monday night’s public hearing and council meeting when city officials unanimously approved moving forward with helping fund the project.
According to the group’s website, The Friends of Big Canoe Creek is a grassroots organization formed in 2008 to coordinate efforts to preserve and protect the Big Canoe Creek watershed through community education and participation.
Isley also thanked the local state delegation and the St. Clair County Commission for partnering with Springville to make the project a reality.
He said the economic development project could bring hundreds of thousands of people to Springville, helping local businesses and the economy.
“I think it is a fantastic thing,” Isley said.
At the public hearing, nobody spoke against the project, which will cost the city $100,000.
The St. Clair County Commission approved allocating $150,000 toward the project last month, and the Alabama Land Trust will contribute more than $1 million to secure the property, which will serve as a nature preserve, providing outdoor adventure activities such as hiking, canoeing, kayaking, among other possible activities, including outdoor classes for schools.
Doug Morrison, president of Friends for Big Canoe Creek, and other board members, thanked the mayor and council for supporting the project.
The St. Clair County Economic Development Council also supported the project.
Hill told the council the Alabama Land Trust will retain ownership of the property. The city will maintain the property.
The council unanimously approved authorizing the mayor to sign the economic development agreement and a certificate of indebtedness once the agreement is validated by the St. Clair County Circuit Court.
Officials said the city’s share for the project will come out of capital reserves.
In other matters Monday night, the council:
Approved accepting bids for the construction of a new fire department for the Sweetwater subdivision so the municipality can maintain its ISO rating after annexing the subdivision into the city;
Approved a $250 sponsorship for the St. Clair County Water Festival;
Voted against, by a 5-2 margin, a recommendation to install public emergency telephones outside the city’s fire stations;
Approved a utility easement for Alabama Power Company so the city can get adequate power to its new storm shelter; and
Approved allocating $4,290 to renew the city’s permit for its wastewater treatment plant.