With five ball fields, a concession stand, a fishing pond and a three-quarter mile walking trail, Stephen’s Park has served Montevallo well.
Less than a mile northeast of the University of Montevallo, in a portion of the city formerly known as Aldrich, the park’s 20 acres have also for a long time served as the home of the city’s youth sports.
On Wednesday, though, Stephen’s Park became even more valuable to its community.
As United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) has been celebrating its centennial throughout 2023, this week marked the completion of the second of six Centennial Parks that UWCA is building in each of the six counties the organization serves.
For Stephen’s Park, that meant the completion of a new outdoor pavilion with picnic tables, which is set to be used as an outdoor classroom for students and civic organizations, as well as the completion of two pickle ball courts and the planting of extra shade trees.
Montevallo Mayor Rusty Nix said he was “tickled to death” at what the partnership between his city and UWCA has brought to the community.
“This is big for Montevallo,” Nix said, “and thank you for choosing Montevallo. We’re a unique community, and we just appreciate y’all [United Way of Central Alabama].”
Alongside United Way staff, campaign leaders and Montevallo leaders, numerous representatives from UWCA partner agencies in Shelby County came out to celebrate, including SafeHouse, YMCA of Pelham and Easterseals of the Birmingham Area, among others.
Sophie Martin, Director of Corporate Communications at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and Chair of Shelby County’s Campaign, said the ribbon-cutting served as a time to acknowledge all the work going on in the community.
“Not only do we have the opportunity to celebrate the opening of this park,” Martin said, “but we also have the opportunity to celebrate all the great things going on here in Shelby County.”
The improvements at Stephen’s Park are the second of six UWCA projects planned for parks throughout Central Alabama. In September, similar improvements were completed at Franklin Park in Tarrant, just east of Birmingham in Jefferson County.
Key sponsors of work on the park in Montevallo include:
- Alabama Power Foundation.
- America’s First Federal Credit Union.
- Brasfield and Gorrie.
- Drummond Company.
- Thompson Tractor.
- Vulcan Materials Company.
- Ford Meter Box.
- PRADCO Outdoor Brands.
During the ribbon cutting, Martin also encouraged Shelby County residents to be part of UWCA’s annual campaign. The county’s fundraising goal is $1,096,000, and Martin said she wants to keep the momentum going.
“I hope everyone here will help raise those funds. We already have a lot of our partners who have committed to raise funding, and we’re seeing that money come in now,” Martin said, “so let’s just keep up the great work.”
Check out the video of the ribbon-cutting here: