“Is a pavilion ok or not ok?” “That is what we (the city) want to know,” said Tim Westhoven, Chief Operations Officer, during Tuesday night’s meeting to discuss the future of the Bluff Park Community Center.
Around 50 people attended the meeting held at Shades Crest Baptist Church while others watched via BluffParkAl’s Facebook Live Stream.
The meeting, hosted by the City of Hoover, gave residents an opportunity to view a rendering for a pavilion designed by the Architectural & Interior Design Firm TurnerBatson to replace the Community Center and provide feedback to the city. The pavilion would be 30 feet by 40 feet with a storage area and bathrooms.
“We believe we received very good and valuable feedback at Tuesday evening’s meeting,” Westhoven says. “Comments are still welcome and can be sent to either mine or Allan Rice’s email address. Although there is no set deadline for receiving comments, it is our intention to move the project forward based on the comments received. So, the quicker the comments come in, the better.”
”We wanted the community to help us determine the type of facility that they would like to have to replace the existing community center,” City Administrator Allan Rice adds. “The pavilion seems to be well-received as a place that many people could use. Tim has done an outstanding job leading this project and we’re excited to get underway.”
For at least a year, the Bluff Park Community Center has been closed to indoor use due to deteriorating conditions to the floor, city administrator Allan Rice says in an article from the Hoover Sun. The building was even closed for the Bluff Park Art show’s judging and awards ceremony. Although the show still took place at the park as normal, the judging and ceremony for awards had to be moved to the gazebo adjacent to the center.
What About the Art Show? Will a Pavilion Work?
“One of our very first phone calls was to the Bluff Park Art Association for their input on a new structure,” Westhoven said during the meeting. Julie Preskitt, Bluff Park Art Association President, says the board is very positive about what they have seen and what city leaders are proposing will fit the 55-year-old art show’s needs. Preskitt also said the association and city leaders discussed the need for doors that roll up and down around the pavilion so that the pavilion could be closed and the contents protected from the elements during the art show as they set up for judging.
Along with leaders from the art show, two officers from the Shades Cliff Civic Club, Susie Helton and Julie Buford were also in attendance. Both ladies say there was a safety concern with the building and felt a new structure was needed. “The building has certainly served its purpose and served the community well,” Helton says. Both were in favor of a pavilion style structure and Julie Buford says she hopes to see a structure that people can use without rental fees.
The civic club owns the current building and leases it to the city. The lease agreement with the city dates back to the 1980s and is for 99 years. The other buildings in the park are also owned by the civic club and used by the Boy Scouts.
You can read more about the history of the Shades Cliff Civic Club and the community center here.
Outside of the community center itself, many attending the meeting brought up other improvements they would like to see including:
- More grass
- Picnic tables
- Pet waste receptacles
- Additional lighting
- Revitalization of the tennis courts alongside the pool
- A splash pad
- New or refurbished playground sets
- Removal of some graffiti on playground equipment
Tim Westhoven says the next step for the city is to meet with their architect and work on assimilating and assessing the comments received. “Once we have determined the basis for design, we will develop an estimated construction budget and move forward from there. It would be our intention to share the anticipated final rendering and design components again with the public. We are just not sure what form that will take at this moment,” Westhoven says.