City of Attalla Mayor Larry Means (pictured third from right) and Attalla City Council members gather for a photo at the new Stowers Hill Park. Katie Bohannon/Messenger.
By Izack Seahorn, Staff Correspondent
Attalla residents looking for a new place to stretch their legs have a new facility at their disposal. Mayor Larry Means recently announced the opening of a new park at the historic Stowers Hill area.
“We have a lot going on in Attalla right now and I’m excited about it,” said Means. “If I can still get excited at my age that’s pretty good.”
Stowers Hill Park has a long history with the City of Attalla and a personal history with Means. The park was once a pasture owned by the McClain family.
“When I was six or seven years old, I used to climb a barbed wire fence and get in the pasture to pick blackberries and go down to the creek,” Means said.
The park’s walking trail is named after the McClain family. The property was purchased from the McClain family by the Osborn brothers who subsequently built houses on the property.
“My late wife (Karen) and I had our first house there and then moved across the street, so I still live there,” Means said. “I’ve thought about moving somewhere else since my wife passed, but I decided not to because I love where I live. I love my neighborhood and I love my neighbors.”
Along with living in the area and playing in the pasture when he was young, Means also went to school at Stowers Hill Elementary.
“I went to first second and third grade there,” he said. “The school gave us all that property, and we kept the buildings that were useable. “There is a gym that is used by a lot of kids, along with a Headstart building.”
Means noted that the walking trail is located at the opposite end of the property adjacent to a creek and a playground.
“We’ve got people using it already” Means said. “It’s a quarter of a mile long and it’s pet friendly. We’ve planted around 30 trees and we’re going to do more landscaping and try to put in some lighting.”
Means pointed out that the park’s location is ideal since it is in the middle of the city in District 3.
“That so people from the other districts can easily get to it and use it,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the community. It’s somewhere for people to go and exercise and somewhere to sit or stroll.”
Means believes it is important for people to take a break from screens and staying indoors.
“It’s good to get out and walk and look at the things God has created, especially with the pandemic like it is. It’s good to breathe fresh air and get out of the house.”
Means said that the park’s cost of approximately $40,000 was financed by a community grant program and that no money came out of the city’s general fund. Means said that there are plans to continue Attalla’s growth in the near future.
“We’re talking about building another walking trail. We’ve got one in District 5. We can’t put one in every district, but we’re going to do something in every district, whether it be a park or something else.”
Means encouraged visitors to see what Attalla has to offer.
“Downtown looks the best it has ever looked for Christmas, and I had nothing to do with it; city employees did it all. Come visit us here in Attalla; we’re all in this together in Etowah County, and we’ve got a good community. My wife would have loved to have seen [the new progress].”