North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

January 3, 2013

Residents celebrate opening of New Castle park

By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

GARDENDALE — No children were at the newly-constructed park in New Castle for the grand opening, but plenty of adults were on hand to celebrate.

Officials hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a very cold day Dec. 21 for the park that some residents have wanted for many years.

One resident in particular, Shirley Godwin, has been a mainstay at Gardendale City Council meetings for decades, lobbying for a park for the children in her community. She and neighbors have pushed for a park in the area for at least 20 years, she said.

“Thank God for letting me live to see it,” she said.

The park features a large play area with slides and structures to climb. There are also benches, a handicap-accessible swing and a wooden pavilion covering two picnic tables. The whole park area is fenced in and has a paved parking lot.

Officials broke ground on the park in June.

Gardendale Mayor Othell Phillips said the city had purchased the property two years prior, but had to go through the process of bidding out the construction, starting over when the original low bidder backed out.

Construction of the park was funded through a $200,000 federal community development block grant secured through the Jefferson County Office of Community and Economic Development.

Godwin said about 70 children in the neighborhood would have access to the new park.