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Extensive city park improvements on track

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham city commissioners voted to accept the Trail Improvement Concept Plan at their meeting on Monday, September 11, directing staff to move forward with drafting a request for Booth Park construction drawing proposals as part of the improvement plan.

Improving the city’s trail system is a priority project of the parks and recreation bond. Towards the beginning of 2022, the city had MCSA Group, Inc. prepare a concept for the improvement plan which was presented to the public for input. Feedback from several city boards as well as the public was incorporated into a revised concept plan completed at the end of June of this year.

Residents had the opportunity to share their feedback regarding the concept plan which Birmingham Parks and Recreation Manager Carrie Laird summarized during the meeting. According to Laird, most Birmingham residents are hoping to see more accessibility, sustainability, visibility and connections, and more of a natural feel.

Included in the concept plan are a number of entry, connectivity and accessibility improvements. Booth Park will have new seating, landscaping, entry improvements and a number of additional accessible restrooms. Confidence markers, wayfinding signs and trail entry identifiers are going to be added, as well as new accessible boardwalks and viewing areas.

By the end of the three-phased improvement process, new pedestrian bridges will also be placed between Willits and Baldwin, and south of Maple into Linden Park. The first phase of the plan includes the improvements to Booth Park. The second phase covers the Museum Trail area and the third covers Linden Trail.

The plan will continue to be reviewed and changed, but the commission was in favor of allowing city staff to move forward with getting construction drawings for the first phase of the improvement plan focusing on Booth Park.

“I’m very impressed to get to this point now,” said commissioner Pierre Boutros before motioning for approval. Commissioners voted 7-0 to direct staff to continue with an RFP for construction drawing proposals.

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