By BROOKE BOUCEK
The West Homewood community will have access to expanded recreation facilities at Patriot Park. Construction is scheduled to begin in early March at the corner of Oak Grove Road and Raleigh Avenue.
“It will look like a scaled down version of [Homewood’s] Central Park with similar amenities including pavilions, paved walking paths, restrooms, a large green space with new sod and lighting around the perimeter of the park,” Homewood City Councilman Fred Hawkins said.
Councilmen Vance Moody and Fred Hawkins have been advocating for the park expansion on the city’s agenda and have worked with architecture firm Birchfield Penual and Associates LLC to finalize the plans.
Until the 1980s, the land at Patriot Park was a golf course. After the city acquired the land, many residents pushed for a walking trail and other amenities that this project will at last provide for the area.
“I think it will be a great addition to the space that’s there,” said Marjorie Davis Trimm, vice president of PTO at Hall-Kent Elementary. “We’re really accomplishing what the city wants.”
Pavilions with picnic tables will be available to rent for children’s birthday parties, small get-togethers and other events. There will also be new onsite bathrooms and water fountains. This will add to the appeal of playground amenities constructed at the park last year.
“I pass by the park everyday, and it’s really great to see kids running to play at the park after school,” Trimm said.
The walking trail will consist of a quarter of a mile loop that will later connect to the Senior Center that was built in 2000. Nine to 10 light poles will provide lighting for an after-sunset walk or jog.
In addition, residents in the area will have privacy from the public space. Landscape buffering will separate homes to the west of the park.
These additions are only part of the first phase of the park plans. In a later phase, the city hopes to eventually provide a paved path for students to walk and bike to and from Hall-Kent Elementary as a part of the federally funded Safe Routes to School program.
“This will be a place closer to home for West Homewood residents,” said architect Chuck Kelly of Kelly Landscape Architects. “We’re really looking forward to the neighbors having a park they can call their own.”