As Spring approaches, residents of Blount County are looking forward to a more promising one than 2020. Although COVID-19 remains a threat a year later, social distancing guidelines and vaccinations have made it safer for people to venture out and enjoy themselves. Outdoor activities are still ideal for a safer experience.
The Blount County Commission just added a new outdoor outlet for the people of Blount County to enjoy. At its last meeting, the commission approved some exciting changes making an official park out of one of the beloved covered bridges within the county.
The area surrounding Swann Bridge has been an unofficial park for many years, but the Commission has decided to accept a five-acre lease offered by Sherrill Swann to properly maintain the area around the bridge and park.
“The only way we can preserve the beauty of areas like Swann Bridge for the long term is to have a measure of control so that there can be the enforcement of guidelines that will protect and preserve it for future generations,” Commission Chairman Chris Green explained.
One particular concern is the preservation of the Locust Fork River and its tributaries. “If we take care of it, the Locust Fork River and its tributaries will remain beautiful areas that Blount County can always be proud of,” Green said.
The commission has established and set rules that provide access to the river for locals and visitors, but also keeps it as naturally stunning as it has been for years. With clear rules and patrols done by both the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and Town of Cleveland Police Department, they will also keep the park area a safe place for family fun, which is a major aspect of any park.
“This project will be a tremendous benefit to the Blount County community ensuring that citizens have access to the beauty of the Locust Fork River,” Green said. “These type of projects are also a great benefit to the future positive economic development of our area. It’s a win for all.”
Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce Director Barbara Andersen agreed. She is excited for the county to have another clean, well-regulated park for residents and visitors to enjoy. She also noted that an officially managed park with controlled trash pick up and safe lighting will be an asset to tourism since all of the parks in Blount County are visited frequently by locals as well as those from other parts of Alabama and the rest of the country.
“Out-of-county visitors love to see the bridges,” she said. “A safe park to view the Swann Bridge is a big deal and will be very popular. Every so often, I’ll see cars parked with Alabama license plates along with those from different parts of the country. It’s very exciting.”
Spring 2021 is looking in a very positive direction for Blount Countians and visitors alike. Getting outside and enjoying beautiful scenery and weather is a great form of self-care, so definitely plan a visit to Swann Bridge Park soon!