Phase II of city sports park complete

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Photo: Flanked by current and former City of Gadsden officials, Mayor Craig Ford addresses the gathering during the ribbon cutting of Phase 2 of the City of Gadsden Sports Park on Monday, April 3, behind Gadsden State. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Phase 2 of the City of Gadsden Sports Park is officially in the books.

On Monday, April 3, the city recognized the completion of the second portion of the facility’s five-phase project for the complex located behind Gadsden State Community College and adjacent to the Coosa River. Phase 2 featured the construction of four baseball and softball fields at the center of the complex.

Joined by a number of current and former local officials, City of Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford noted that it was the “passion” that former mayor Sherman Guyton, former city director of economic development Frankie Davis and the former city council displayed that made the project easier for he and the current council.

“This [park] is a gem,” said Ford. “Every city would love to have such a facility in their area. The sales tax and the quality of life it will produce for the residents of Gadsden is something that sets the bar really high.”

“This has been a long road, but we all kept plugging along to get this thing going,” added Sherman Guyton. “I appreciate all that these guys have done and will do in the future.”

Ford also spoke of the partnership with Gadsden State that resulted in a new field for the school’s softball team and eventually lead to a new field for the school’s baseball team.

“There are so many partnerships going on right now with this project,” said Ford. “That includes the Etowah County Commission, the IDA and the Mayor’s Association, along with so many others. We’re all running on one accord, and this is something we can all be proud of.”

Ford recognized the contributions of current city council members Kent Back, Jason Wilson, Dixie Minatra, Tonya Latham, Steve Smith, Larry Avery and Chris Robinson. Ford also recognized mayoral staff members John Moore, Brett Johnson, Ruth Moffatt, Rod Scott, Tena King, Melissa Battles and Melci Guyton, along with the city parks and recreation department.

City of Gadsden Engineer Heath Williamson noted that Phase 3, which features the Champions Field for special needs athletes along with additional parking space, is currently under construction. Williamson added that Phase 4, which calls for playing fields and pickleball courts located behind the Phase 2 area, is currently in the design stage.

“This has been a really good ride with some great vision,” said Back. “We were always embarrassed when teams from out of town came to Gadsden. That won’t ever happen again. It’s exciting to know that current mayor Craig Ford and his staff share the same vision that Sherman and Frankie had. Also don’t forget that this project is paid for by taxes generated from you guys, so this is everyone’s park. This complex will put our pride where it should be and give our children a really nice place to play for generations to come.”

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