Traditions Park, a 29-acre recreation complex that represents three years of sustained effort, officially opened Saturday, Aug. 19. And in so doing, it opens a whole new era in recreation – with economic implications, as well – for the area.
Construction on the $2 million complex began in June of 2014. Today, it contains four lighted baseball/softball diamonds with a concession stand and quadruple-whammy press boxes, one for each diamond. Separated from the ball complex on a higher terrace is a spacious lighted field to be used for football and soccer practice and games.
The site still has space for two more regulation fields, with room to spare for future dreams like a community park and walking track, according to West Blount Park Board president Shea Layton.
“We never imagined this would turn out to be what it has become, when 16 of us board members first started scratching around on the ground to build some ball fields for the kids. It’s so much more than we dreamed. We couldn’t be happier,” Layton said.
There’s no fancy economic study available at the moment, but Layton predicts revenue in the $3,000 to $5,000 range per weekend starting when baseball season fires up in the spring, lasting through the summer and fall. District 1 Commissioner Allen Armstrong, who has recent experience travelling with his son to baseball tournaments all over the Southeast, estimates this park can host tournaments of 30 to 40 teams, drawing players, parents, relatives, and followers – and their support of local businesses – to the tune of 4,000 to 5,000 per tournament.
It’s impossible to credit everyone who contributed to the realization of this dream, but in addition to the Park Board itself, here’s a short list of some who gave ‘til it hurt (but felt oh-h-h so good, because it was for the kids): Traditions Bank (president Tim Compton earned the honor of throwing out the first pitch on grand opening day); Scotty Cooper of Cullman; Richard and Dawn Campbell; the town of Hayden; Adam and Abby Sherrell; Bill and Lyla Logan.
For those wanting to keep abreast of activities at the park, Layton invites everyone to visit the West Blount Park Facebook page. “We’re always looking for people who want to get involved and help us do something for our kids in the community and help us sustain this facility as a place we can all be proud of.”
Layton said that if anyone wants to donate to the cause, they’re certainly welcome since the Board has an $850,000 loan to retire. The Board is a non-profit organization, and contributions are tax-deductible, he said. Send donations to the West Blount Park Board, P.O. Box 34, Hayden, AL 35079.