Montevallo mayor Dr. Hollie Cost celebrates one of two Love Montevallo Day ribbon cuttings with community members. Photo by Jamie Browder
Two ribbon cuttings were held on Saturday, March 16, to celebrate the construction of a bridge and pavilion at Montevallo’s newly opened Shoal Creek Park. These happenings were part of an even larger celebration of Love Montevallo Day.
This year’s Love Montevallo Day was the second iteration of the event, and Dr. Hollie Cost, the mayor of Montevallo, said that it was created to celebrate the City’s collective accomplishments.
Last year the City celebrated Main Street and the changes that had been made to it, and this year it celebrated the opening of Shoal Creek Park.
“What I hope is that it will give people a place to come and reflect and just really enjoy all of the beauty that we have around here,” said Cost.
The park is 167 acres. It features many walking trails, historical sites, open fields and streams running through the property.
“What’s particularly important to me is that it’s inclusive and diverse. I don’t want this park to just be for someone who looks like me and gets around like I do,” added Cost. “We will have more accessible pathways than we have had in the past.”
The City also celebrated the event by offering tours and a 5K color run around the property. The tours touched on different aspects of the land such as botanical and historical elements, as well as a geocaching experience.
Cory Rasnic, a UM student who helped with the 5K, said that he believes the park will be a great place for students, especially environmental studies majors, to visit.
“It’s a little far away from campus, but I think it will be a nice break for people, instead of staying on campus all the time,” said Rasnic, a sophomore management major.
The property was donated to the City of Montevallo in November 2013 by Elizabeth Mahler, whose family once owned the land.
The City’s own Arnold family, specifically Sarah and Terry Arnold, was behind the construction of the park’s bridge. To celebrate the bridge opening, Sarah and Terry each released a red-tailed hawk back into the wild after being rehabilitated by the Alabama Wildlife Center.
“It just meant the world to me, because there’s so much meaning in that act. It’s the perfect way to set them free,” said Sarah Arnold.
Sarah also said she believes that the new park is going to be a great place for people to enjoy and learn in the outdoors.
According to Alabama Wildlife Center executive, Doug Adair, the hawks had both been hit by cars and suffered head and wing trauma. However, they were successfully rehabilitated and released into the trees overlooking the park.
“This park is a wonderful habitat for red tailed hawks, so we were pleased to be able to release Shoal Creek Park’s two newest residents,” said Adair.
Shoal Creek park is located at 2679 Hwy 119.