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The existing Peavy Park combined with a grass field on the corner of Bellwood Road and George C. Wallace Drive will be transformed into a comprehensive recreation hub on the south side of Enterprise when a $4.5 million recreational project is completed within the next two years.
Mayor William E. Cooper and Parks and Recreation Director Billy Powell announced plans for the redevelopment and expansion of Peavy Park at the Jan. 10 groundbreaking ceremony. They were joined by city and community leaders, educators and others to turn the first dirt on the project, which will begin on a 25-acre site recently donated to the City of Enterprise by the Alabama Community College System, Enterprise State Community College and the ESCC Foundation Board of Directors.
“This is a monumental and exciting day,” Powell said, explaining that city leaders for sometime had a vision of improving the existing Peavy Park, which is currently used primarily for playground play, social gatherings around a small pavilion and soccer or kickball practice in the unmarked grassy area.
Earlier this year, the vision became clearer when a community partnership between ESCC and the City led to the land donation. Powell and Cooper thanked ESCC President Matt Rodgers, ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker and ESCC Foundation board members for working with the City and donating the land that will support three multi-purpose fields for soccer, football and other activities, sand volleyball court, concession stand, walking and biking trails, a parking lot and facilities for other recreational opportunities.
Construction on that 25-acre addition to Peavy Park will begin soon. The second part of the overall project will be redevelopment of the existing 23-acre park just to the south of the new land. The two properties are currently separated by a strip of woods and wetlands, but plans are for the two areas to be connected by a walking bridge.
The existing park will feature four more multi-purpose fields, a new concession stand, parking lot and walking and biking trails that are connected to the northern section by the bridge.
“When I look out at this vacant property right now, I can see a wonderful development for the future. I see ball fields, walking trails and sand volleyball courts,” Powell said. “This property will become a great park with an assortment of recreational experiences available to people of different ages, financial status, skill levels and varied interests.”
Thanking the Mayor and Council for their support, Powell said the project has been a long time in the making. “We’ve been viewing this area for a long time, and now it’s coming to reality,” he said.
One of the driving factors in seeking a comprehensive recreational area at Peavy Park was that the proximity of the City’s 175-acre primary on the northeast side of town. Powell said the new park will serve residents who might find it difficult or inconvenient to go to the Enterprise Recreational Complex on Highway 167 North. Peavy Park is also close to an Enterprise Housing Authority complex and some underserved neighborhoods that the City has hoped to reach.
The project will also have an economic impact as the Parks and Rec Department will have facilities for more tournaments and activities that draw participants from outside of the area.
“We think you will be very proud of this complex, and we here in the City and everyone involved in this project are going to work hard to make sure that you are. We have the vision and the determination,” Powell said.
Cooper said the park will serve all segments of the population and many people from the surrounding communities who come to Enterprise for recreation. He expects the facilities to be well used by Parks and Recreation program participants, Enterprise School System students and faculty, and the ESCC students and faculty.
The complete project involving close to 50 acres is estimated at $4.5 million.
Cooper told the crowd gathered for the groundbreaking on the cool January morning that he believes Alfred Peavy would be proud to know the City is investing in this project to serve children and teens, adults and active older adults. Cooper was a friend and neighbor of the late educator and coach, who influenced hundreds, if not thousands, of young people through sports and academics during his long career in Enterprise schools.
“Mr. Peavy had a keen knowledge of sports and understood what it means for young people to become involved in sports not only to sharpen their physical and athletic abilities but because organized sports help young people development leadership skills and good character traits that will benefit them throughout their lives,” Cooper said.
Known as a disciplinarian and wise advisor, Peavy was a true mentor to many, many young people and a well-respected man of Enterprise, Cooper said. The existing park was dedicated in his honor in 1986.
Cooper thanked Powell for his effort to lead this project and for having the vision to turn Peavy Park into “a dynamic recreational area.”
He said Powell has much more work to do because Peavy Park is only the first step of a much larger overhaul of the Parks and Recreational Department that includes building a new Rec Center and developing aquatic facilities.
“But Billy is optimistic and eager to get it done, so stay tuned for more celebrations in the future,” the Mayor said.
He also thanked Rodgers and Baker, former Foundation President Chad Meeks, current Foundation President Robbin Thompson and others for working with the City on this mutually-beneficial project.
Rodgers, a native of New Brockton, is a former Enterprise High School principal.
“Matt has dedicated his life to improving young lives through educational opportunity and the environment in which education takes place,” Cooper said. “We are proud of Matt and the job he is doing here to build this institution and to engage ESCC with the city and community around it. His determination and enthusiasm for progress is welcomed and appreciated.”
Rodgers told the crowd that he and college officials are extremely pleased to see that the project is about to begin. He thanked Cooper, Powell, the City Council, City Administrator Jonathan Tullos, Engineering Department Director Barry Mott, Engineering Consultant Glenn Morgan, Enterprise City Schools Superintendent Zel Thomas and others who worked on the project.
“We had the land here and realized it could be of great help to the City,” Rodgers said, noting that a partnership was formed and the leaders began to look at various available resources and ways to use them in service of citizens.
“We’re one big team,” Rodgers said, expressing appreciation for Cooper, the City Staff, City School System leaders and others. “I can tell you that we have the friendship and the trust, and all the things you need to build a community are present here in Enterprise.”
Rodgers recognized the military personnel attending the ceremony, and said many of the personnel move into Enterprise or surrounding community while serving at Fort Rucker.
“We hope you can see in us good examples of what public services looks like,” he said.
The donated land is adjacent to the ESCC baseball and softball complex. Rodgers said the college is also upgrading facilities there as well. Immediately after the Weevils’ season ends, a new concession stand and restroom facilities will be constructed and two grandstand bleachers capable of seating 120 patrons will be installed behind home plate.
Rodgers, Cooper and Powell were joined by several officials to take hold of the traditional gold shovels and toss a shovel of dirt at the site where construction will begin.
In the accompanying photo, from left, are Col. Robert Holcombe, Fort Rucker Garrison commander; Enterprise Engineering and Public works Director Barry Mott, Enterprise Parks and Recreation Director Billy Powell, Mayor William E. Cooper, ESCC President Matt Rodgers, ESCC Vice President Danny Long and Enterprise Schools Superintendent Zel Thomas.
Manning shovels for the ceremonial groundbreaking photo were, from the left,