New recreational opportunities for Huntsville

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – City officials are deep in the works of some new recreational options to offer those living in the Huntsville area and beyond.

The city released new information on their plans for Joe Davis stadium. The original plan was to renovate the stadium to offer another football field to local high schools.

City Administrator John Hamilton said that conversation has evolved over the past six years, while the stadium sat empty.

“We really decided to take the stadium kind of to another level where not only football, although it remains a priority for us, but also designed to a standard where it could also host professional soccer,” Hamilton said.

It is also poised to be a field hockey, lacrosse and disc golf tournament field as well.

The former home of Stars Baseball will have a nearly $20 million transformation to meet the standards required for a minor league soccer team.

“It also will serve as a catalyst for development. When you’ve got that kind of activity around it, there’s a natural desire for other walkable amenities around it, so it’ll boost the economy but also an opportunity to bring in tourism,” Hamilton said.

It might not be the only new recreational option either.

The city is pursuing funding for a pedestrian bridge that would connect Memorial Parkway to downtown Huntsville, but Hamilton said it’s not just a sky bridge.

“It will have a very iconic look to it but this is important just for flood mitigation in that western part of downtown, its important for pedestrian infrastructure to connect the Lowe Mill neighborhood and Butler Terrace area into downtown,” Hamilton said.

$9,000 was approved at Thursday’s city council meeting to hire grant writers in pursuit of $25 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which would cover about half of the project’s total cost. The city would front the other half.

The city has pursued that grant before but was not successful in their selection. Hamilton is confident Huntsville is even more competitive this time around as the city continues to grow.

Getting those neighborhoods connected to jobs, getting cars off the roads, those kinds of things, that need is only going up, it’s not going down,” Hamilton said.

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