The City of Hoover is seeking input into its Parks & Public Spaces Plan that will help shape the future of Parks, Trails, Public Spaces, and Programming in Hoover for the future generation. Here, you can learn about the various aspects of the plan and how it can help create a community vision for years to come.
What is the purpose of the plan?
This plan seeks to expand upon the 2019 City-wide Comprehensive Plan by taking a deeper dive into all things parks & recreation. The resulting plan will be a community-driven vision that will shape the future of parks & recreation for the next 15-20 years in Hoover by helping city managers and elected officials to prioritize projects and allocate funds more effectively. Additionally, the plan seeks to create a sense of place for each of the spaces, identify ways to protect natural resources, and ultimately build places that the community wants to see and experience.
The plan officially kicked off in December, 2022. Since then, the project team, steering committee, and consultant teams have been hard at work collecting as much information as possible on the "current state".
The public engagement phase kicked off on April 29, 2023 at Celebrate Hoover Day. This phase is all about getting community involvement; we can't create a vision for the community without input from the community. This phase is about the "desired future state". Your voice truly matters. The engagement phase will last until late May.
The teams will spend the summer of 2023 examining the "current state" and the "desired future state" in order to help envision the best path between the two. It looks at feasibility of ideas, characteristics of different elements, all of the community feedback, and much more. From here, a draft plan will be created that will be presented to the public around late summer / early fall of 2023.
After further revisions and refinement, the plan will be presented to the Park Board, the Planning & Zoning Commission, and the Hoover City Council for adoption. We anticipate the project wrapping up around late October / early November of 2023.
The Focus Areas:
Blueways & Greenways & Trails
The Cahaba River Blueway runs right through the heart of Hoover, AL. The City has 20 miles of water frontage of the most bio-diverse river in the US. How exciting! Did you know that by utilizing the Cahaba responsibly, we can increase its protection? Use of this amazing gem includes more than kayaking and canoeing; fishing, picnics, boardwalks, bird watching, and more. It also includes service days to keep this river clean and beautiful for generations to come. Learn more at https://www.cahabablueway.org/ and https://cahabariversociety.org/.
Imagine a multi-purpose path that connects different amenities, parks, and communities all throughout Hoover, where you can walk, cycle, skate, etc. from place to place while encountering minimal traffic. Where traffic is encountered, its impact is reduced as much as possible so that you can have a safer experience. Not only could this greenway connect amenities within Hoover, but it also has potential to connect to other greenways planned for Jefferson & Shelby counties so that a regional trail system in Central Alabama could be a reality!
Trails take on many different sizes - greenways are typically wider multi-purpose paths for non-motorized uses, but there are also hiking trails, horse trails, mountain biking trails, and other types of trails. Hoover has a growing mountain bike and hiking community with the great amenties such as Moss Rock Preserve and Black Creek Mountain Bike Park. How do we keep these areas maintained, safe to use, and enjoyable? What types of trails do we need more of? These are the types of questions we want to answer for this focus area.
Hoover has 32 public parks, each with its own personality. They are our connection to nature, to our families, to ourselves, and to our communities. This focus area examines how close residents are to parks, where we may need additional facilities, how accessible the facilities are, and how we use the parks. It identifies the use, type, and category of the park so that the City can manage the space more effectively.
The value of parks is difficult to quantify, but the economic impact from these spaces is important. Parks and natural spaces help attract businesses and workers to Hoover. This plan helps us think of spaces that can be "non-traditional" parks and helps change the way we might think of parks. For example, how do we bring parks into older office parks to help re-imagine them into multi-use facilities that workers can enjoy?
Finally, how do we create spaces purposefully, so each park is protected and enjoyed for years to come?
Programming breathes life into a space and creates an experience. Events, arts, music, sports, natural areas, and unique programming all enhance the experience of being in the space. Think about how different a park is on a day with a few visitors vs. when there is a ballgame, concert, or other event! Some parks are meant to be calm and tranquil, and some are meant to be full of energy and excitement. All have their place!
The Parks & Recreation team is committed to identifying ways to enhance the experience in our parks, and in our facilities. We have several indoor facilities in Hoover - Hoover Recreation Center, Hoover Senior Center, Finley Center, Randle House, plus many indoor facilities & open pavilions in open-air parks. This plan helps us look at each facility and space and make sure the programming "fits" the space, that new & exciting sports and programming are on the horizon, and that the organization & structure of staff best supports all of our objectives and helps us operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.
We want to be very intentional about getting input and having conversations with Hoover residents & visitors. There are several ways to get involved, ranked in order of time commitment:
Take the survey! It only takes about 5-10 minutes. Statistics show that public response rates to surveys are about 1%. But we know how much Hoover residents care about their City, and we know we can do better than that! We encourage you to challenge your friends and neighbors to take the survey and share their voice!