Buddy Watson renovations part of $50M plan to improve community spaces

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 7:16 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Major improvements are coming for parks and community centers across Montgomery. A prime example is the newly renovated Buddy Watson Park.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed says the city is renewing its focus on facilities.

Four months have passed since Buddy Watson Baseball Park sustained extensive storm damage.

Now when you visit, you will notice significant renovations, including new scoreboards, fencing, and eight batting cages.

“When you think about a field, it’s a lot more than just the grass you play on. It’s the aesthetics, it’s the look, it’s the overall atmosphere,” said Mayor Reed

Mayor Reed says the investment made here to improve this facility is part of a broader plan. The Montgomery Forward Initiative aims to reinvest over 50 million dollars into community centers, infrastructure, and public safety.

“it just goes to highlight our commitment to building and investing best-in-class facilities. Again, not just at this particular part but across our entire city,” says Reed.

The city recently completed an extensive assessment of the community centers and found they are not meeting the needs of residents.

“The data tells us something that we’ve known that our community centers are failing our residents. Only five of 23 community centers were assessed in good or fair condition,” says Reed. “That’s only 20% of our facilities. Settling for good or fair, is really how we got here. And we don’t want to settle any longer. So now in this process of beginning the bidding and construction process, and our goal is to complete the work in the immediate future.”

Mayor Reed says as they look to improve those facilities, they are also searching for ways to engage residents. A new partnership between MPD and community leaders will bring new opportunities to area youth like sports.

This initiative provides a safe and affordable program in places for children and teens when they are not in school,” said Reed.

The program is PAAL, or Police Athletic Activities League of Montgomery.

“PAAL is looking to build a better future by building the gap between kids, cops, and community,” Reed stated

Another way the city is looking to engage area youth is through its summer program.

The city is also looking to soon make improvements to Cramton Bowl, Oak Park, Lagoon Park, the Montgomery Zoo and revamp its therapeutic recreational activities.

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