12 months in Overview: Huntsville breaks new floor in parks and recreation

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About nine in ten US adults surveyed in 2021 said it is important for local government to invest in community infrastructure, including parks, community centers and recreational facilities.

The results reflect what city officials have known for a long time – that a high quality of life is just as important to citizens as other key factors, such as good health. B. Road improvements and job creation.

In the past year, the city has allocated over $60 million for its recreational activities, building new facilities and renovating existing spaces. More importantly, Huntsville Parks & Recreation continues to offer dozens of free year-round programs for youth, adults and seniors, from exercise and fitness classes to art workshops and organized track and field events.

Current projects

Sandra Moon community complex

One of the city’s most ambitious projects is the Sandra Moon community complexalso home to the South Huntsville Library, multipurpose athletic fields and 12 lighted outdoor pickleball courts.

Construction of the second phase of the Sandra Moon Community Complex will be completed in 2023.

Construction on the second phase began in 2022 — a major interior renovation of the old Grissom High’s main building on the south side — and is scheduled for completion in spring 2023. This phase will include a new performing arts center overseen by Arts Huntsville. Phase 3 will bring a playground and additional parking spaces.

“I think when it’s done it will be one of our crown jewels in Huntsville,” said Parks & Recreation Director James Gossett. “Especially when you look at the level of activities and programs and the wide range of people who can use this center.”

John Hunt Park

At nearly 450 acres, John Hunt Park continues to serve as Huntsville’s own “Central Park.” Over the past year, it’s hosted everything from the inaugural Eggstravaganza, which drew about 5,000 people, to sand volleyball and cross-country championships, which drew athletes and fans from around the world.

The city announced it would add two new grass pitches at John Hunt Park, intended to generate additional interest in soccer and lacrosse tournaments.

The football facilities include two championship fields. This year the city approved a second championship phase in John Hunt Park. Two new artificial turf pitches, a press stand and a locker room are designed to generate additional interest at soccer and lacrosse tournaments.

The park, which is already home to a mountain bike course, will soon feature an 18-hole disc golf course. The course, the city’s seventh, is currently under construction. Once complete it will be a boon to local players of this growing sport while also attracting major events.

When it comes to popular sports, there is perhaps no hotter trend than pickleball. That John Hunt Park recreation center, adjacent to Joe Davis Stadium, will include outdoor pickleball courts where tournaments can be played. There will also be four full-size gyms, a fitness center, and more. The 53,000 square meter center on Leeman Ferry Road is scheduled for completion in spring 2024.

Huntsville Parks & Recreation employees try out the fitness equipment at the outdoor fitness facility at John Hunt Park.  They wear workout gear.

Huntsville Parks & Recreation employees try out the equipment at the outdoor fitness facility at John Hunt Park.

Also in John Hunt Park is Huntsville’s first Outdoor fitness court, a collaboration between the city, Arts Huntsville and the National Fitness Campaign. The court, which opened in November, allows users to complete a free full-body workout in just seven minutes. Future courts are planned for Apollo Park in MidCity and Johnson Legacy Park.

For all ages

Still under construction are projects that will define what quality of life means for Huntsville’s youth and seniors.

An aerial view of the new Get-A-Way Skatepark.  Bowls are poured all over the site and lots of red dirt.

The Get-A-Way Skatepark is a successful collaboration between the city, the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville, and Team Pain Skate Parks (photo courtesy of Sellers Photo).

This year’s groundbreaking ceremony for the 52,000-square-foot Get-A-Way Skate Park represents a successful collaboration between the city, the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville and Team Pain Skate Parks. It’s a throwback to the old park on Leeman Ferry Road, with features that challenge pros yet cater to newcomers to skateboarding.

A rendering of the new Kids Space at John Hunt Park.  There are children playing on outdoor playground equipment and a sign that reads:

Slated to open in Summer 2023, the new Kids’ Space will honor Huntsville’s past, present and future.

There will be new and improved just a stone’s throw from the skate park children’s area. The design of the playground, currently under construction, pays tribute to Huntsville’s past, present and future. More importantly, the accessible design and materials are fun for all kids, regardless of ability.

On the east side of the park, a renovation transforms the former National Guard armory into the Raymond W. Jones Community Center. The center will support programs for seniors, including those with Parkinson’s disease, while providing office space for John Hunt Park employees.

Joe Davis Stadium

An even bigger renovation project is racing toward its goal — opening in spring 2023 Joe Davis Stadium and the arrival of professional football in Rocket City. The stadium will serve as the home of Huntsville City Football Club. This summer’s announcement revitalized an already enthusiastic football community.

An aerial view of the construction of Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville.  Dirt and construction vehicles can also be seen.

The renovated Joe Davis Stadium will open in spring 2023 (photo courtesy of Sellers Photo).

Joe Davis Stadium will also serve citizens’ needs in other areas. The 6,000-seat facility accommodates multiple groups, including Friday night Huntsville City Schools football games. Its multi-purpose fields are also available for ultimate frisbee, rugby and lacrosse, as well as other events such as concerts and church services.

Johnson Legacy Park

Work continues at the site Johnson Legacy Park, of which all citizens will be proud. There will be hiking trails, a modern playground, two pavilions and an entertainment pavilion with seating terraces for small concerts or theater performances.

A rendering of the new Johnson Legacy Park showing people under a covered area.  There are trees in the background.

Johnson Legacy Park, on the site of the former JO Johnson High School, is currently under construction. It will be a beacon for North Huntsville, which is experiencing a renaissance in terms of new residential and commercial space growth.

It will be a beacon for North Huntsville, which is experiencing a renaissance in terms of new residential and commercial space growth. That is ultimately the goal of each of these projects. They represent not only institutions but people; Spaces to play, exercise, learn and socialize to enhance everyone’s physical and emotional well-being.

There’s more to come

Family-friendly offerings, from back-to-school parties to citywide boot camps, touched the lives of more than 12,000 people in 2022. A Mentorship program for men was also launched with great success and offers young people safe spaces to reach their potential and have fun with adult role models. Similar programs are in the works for young women.

As 2022 draws to a close, there is much to appreciate and even more to look forward to in the year ahead.

Visit to see what all Huntsville Parks & Recreation have to offer HuntsvilleAL.gov/Parks-Recreation. click here to sign up for the monthly e-newsletter.