Changes at Huntsville’s Fern Bell Park Due to School Construction

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A view of Fern Bell Park from alongside Martin Road. (WHNT News 19)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There’s a new construction zone in Huntsville that apparently caught quite a few people off guard.  It’s at the corner of Whitesburg Drive and Martin Road in Huntsville, adjacent to where Whitesburg Elementary and Middle Schools sit now.

Three ball fields that have been there for decades are now gone, to make way for progress.

A view of Fern Bell Park from alongside Martin Road. (WHNT News 19)

A view of Fern Bell Park from alongside Martin Road. (WHNT News 19)

Fern Bell Park is now a huge dirt zone, sitting off highly traveled Whitesburg Drive.  Empty signs and torn-down playground equipment are all that’s left of the ball fields that have been there for as long as the city’s Parks and Recreation Manager can remember.

“These are one of our oldest ball parks,” said Steve Ivey.  “A lot of sentiment here, people my age played, so I know they’re old.”

But Ivey says the freshly turned-over soil is a good sign for the city and the schools.

“It’s good news, it’s progress and that’s, you know, we’re all working together,” he said.

In July, the school district displayed an artist’s rendering of what they hope will be sitting here for the 2015-16 school year — a new pre-school through 8th grade building replacing Whitesburg Elementary and Middle Schools.  Once those old schools are torn down, then crews will build new ball fields.

Artist's rendering of the future Whitesburg School

Artist’s rendering of the future Whitesburg School

“The school board and the city’s made a commitment to the neighborhood that the ball fields will go back and they’ll be as good, if not better, when they are replaced,” said Ivey.

City leaders say their phones starting ringing incessantly once people saw the clearing, perhaps forgetting what a federal judge in May approved to be done.

The new Whitesburg School is part of a $194 million capital plan to make improvements across the district.  Once it’s built, the new Whitesburg School will face Martin Road.

The ball fields that were torn down were not used this year due to the construction plans.

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