Planning begins as Huntsville municipal golf course becomes park

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Last month, the Huntsville City Council voted to create a multi-use park out of the former Becky Peirce Municipal Golf Course.

It was a move that divided many people in the city. 1300 golfers signed a petition to keep it an 18-hole course, but others asked for bike trails and cross-country uses.

"It's a situation we don't often encounter. We had two great options on how to use this property. Unfortunately you couldn't do both," said John Hamilton, Huntsville City Administrator. "We certainly would like to be able to deliver both, but the reality is on that acreage that was not possible."

Hamilton said he is excited to see the same passion that surrounds the 140-acre course now evolve as the course transforms into a multi-use park. It will include a cross-country course, walking trails, bike paths, and a golf practice facility.

"It would be not only a driving range, but also chipping areas and sand traps and practice greens," said Hamilton. "It would have a facility a golf coach could also do some indoor practice and training."

But to get there, planners have to complete the design.

"While we have the concept and the general idea of some of the different uses we will overlay with each other, now it gets down to the detailed design," he said. "I expect us to get representatives from all the user groups together. That's one of the challenges to the design process," he remarked. "Step 1 is getting all those representatives around the table and talking through the process we will use for master planning the property and getting down to the detailed design."

We won't be able to play on in this park for a little while though.

"I am hopeful we can begin making some of the modifications by this fall sometime," Hamilton said. "Now, I do think this is ultimately a multi-year process."

When it is finished, Hamilton believes this will become a regional facility.

"It will be something that does not exist in our city right now, and does not exist in many cities around the region," he said.