North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

August 6, 2012

Progress 2012: Fultondale's Black Creek Park gets spruced up

By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

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Fultondale’s biggest playground for children and adults alike has recently received major renovations. City officials are thrilled that hundreds of people are taking advantage of Black Creek Park. 

“We have absolutely refurbished the whole park,” said Fultondale Park and Recreation Director Phillip Loden.

Crews started off by upgrading the large pavilion and the Leon Russel music stage, including new paint and vinyl siding. 

“We made them practically brand new,” Loden said. 

Workers also cleaned up and painted all of the playground equipment, and resurfaced the walking track with gravel. 

Loden is particularly excited that the city is working to expand the walking track along a former railroad bed. Workers have put gravel farther along the railroad bed; the refurbished track now goes from the senior center to Interstate 65. 

Loden and Mayor Jim Lowery said the goal is to extend the trail to Shady Grove Road, which will make it four miles long.

One of the park’s biggest additions is a new concession stand that includes two large restrooms and storage and office space upstairs. All of the concession equipment is new and state-of-the-art, according to Loden. 

The city contracts with an outside company to manage and operate the concession stand, receiving a fee in return. 

The concession stand is across the parking lot from the Fultondale Senior Center, and matches the red brick building. 

Black Creek Park also has two updated ballfields boasting new red brick dugouts and new fences, lighting, and seating. There are also two hitting cages between the two ball fields. 

The park has been getting plenty of use, as summer softball leagues have ended and fall leagues for men, women and co-ed teams are kicking off. 

The nearby Children’s Park, which can be reached from Black Creek Park by a walking trail that crosses Stouts Road, has also received some attention. 

Workers have added two fenced-in areas for dogs in the city’s “bark park” and have added picnic tables and grills. 

Loden said crews have also cleaned up along the creek. He said he often sees daycare classes at the Children’s Park, with teachers and children playing in the creek. 

“This is not just for youth. We want adults to come and have fun,” Loden said.

Besides the parks, other organizations contribute greatly to quality of life in Fultondale. 

The Fultondale Senior Center serves numerous people every day, including meals, games, speakers, trips and other activities. The center is a big part of dozens of seniors’ daily lives. 

Another group making a big impact in the city is the Fultondale Arts Council, headed up by Kara Kennedy. 

The council recently hosted its second annual arts festival, which drew a large crowd. 

Upcoming events for the council is Art After Dark at Iberia Bank on Tuesday and a Barking at the Moon Festival at the Children’s Park in October.