Past well sites to be designated as city parks
By Grace Lovins
Two well sites in Birmingham's southern area will be designated as mini-parks following the city commission’s decision on Monday, October 24, and the city manager will begin further research into the history of the city’s other well sites in relation to their potential future designation.
Carrie Laird, parks and recreation manager, was asked by city manager Tom Markus and the department of public services to provide the history of the properties in question, which were originally intended as well sites. The two properties on Southfield Road – one at Southlawn and the other just south of Wakefield – were originally conveyed to be used as well sites in 1941. The wells no longer exist on the property, but the properties are still owned by the city.
Laird noted that the commission was presented with the option to develop the well sites in 1980, but no action was ever taken in order to preserve the sites as green space, based on comments made by the commission during that meeting. The commission, however, did not officially designate the sites as parks at that time or at any point since.
According to Laird, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan from 2000-2005 lists the former well sites as part of the park inventory and are classified as mini-parks based on the National Recreation and Park Association guidelines.
The parks and recreation board voted on September 13, 2022, to recommend the city commission review all well sites to have them be considered mini parks as part of the city’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan inventory. At the that meeting, the board also hoped to expand the recommendation to all well sites found in the board’s master plan at some point in the future, which includes the Baldwin well, Derby well and Redding well sites.
The commission voted unanimously to designate the two south well sites as mini-parks, further directing Markus to conduct research on the city’s additional well sites and prepare recommendations for the parks and recreation board and city commission for future deliberations.