Public park at fire station moves forward
By Kevin Elliott
Plans to designate about a half acre of property at Birmingham’s Chesterfield Fire Station as a public park moved forward on Monday, April 26, as the city commission referred the matter to the city’s parks and recreation board for review.
Birmingham Director of Public Services Lauren Wood said there has been ongoing conversation from community members about designating part of the land as a park. While a proposal and petition were presented to the parks and recreation board in August of 2020, the board held off on any action until after the November 2020 election, when voters approved a $11.25 million bond proposal. However, the proposal for the fire station park wasn’t included in the bond.
The Chesterfield Fire Station, or fire station number 2, is at 1600 Maple Road, between Chesterfield and Fairfax. The total area of the property is 1.36 acres, with about .6 acres to be used for the park on the east side of the new fire station.
In addition to the designation, Wood said there is interest in having the park named after a member of the public. The city commission also directed the parks and recreation board to prescribe a naming policy.
Birmingham City Commissioner Rackeline Hoff said she has several concerns about the ramifications of having a park in the area. She said she would include them in an email to Wood.
Commissioner Mark Nickita said the city and the parks and recreation board will need to take a broad view on the park and see how it fits into the city’s established network of parks.
“Is it going to be more passive or active? What is its place fundamentally among the parks that we have,” he said. “That’s a fundamental question when you get into the elements and cost. If we add this park, it becomes part of a network of parks and we have to see how that fits into our system.”
As the park wasn’t included in the 2020 bond proposal, there have yet to be any funds budgeted for any park improvements at the site.
Commissioners voted unanimously to forward the matter to the parks and recreation board.