PELL CITY – Almost 100 people attended Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association wetlands boardwalk at Lakeside Park.
“It is a magnificent structure,” Mike Riley, president of the LMLPA, told those at the ribbon cutting.
The official opening of the wetlands boardwalk and observation platform coincided with the day Logan Martin Lake was expected to reach full pool for the upcoming summer.
Riley went down a long list of people and organizations that helped make the LMLPA wetlands boardwalk and observation deck a reality.
“This has been a long process,” he said.
Riley, along with LMLPA members Dr. Joseph Barra, Dick Franke and Isabella Trussell, spearheaded efforts to move the project forward when five years ago Dr. Donn Brascho, former LMLPA president, told the LMLPA board the organization needed to complete a significant project.
Trussell said since water quality is a big issue for the LMLPA, it was fitting to complete a project that involved wetlands, which are vital to water quality, since they help filter water.
The non-profit group also wanted to make a good investment for education and the boardwalk and observation platform also serves that purpose.
Trussell said the observation platform has enough space to accommodate a classroom of students.
She said LMLPA started in 2009 to garner support for the project and to identify the exact location for the structure.
She said the location where the wetlands boardwalk and observation deck now sits was the best possible site for the structure.
Trussell said LMLPA had to complete paperwork and satisfy many government agencies before the actual construction of the wetlands boardwalk could begin. Those agencies included Alabama Power Company, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the city of Pell City, since the structure was at the city’s Lakeside Park.
The new wetlands boardwalk is adjacent to the Kiwanis Amphitheater, which can accommodate outdoor classroom instruction. In addition, the Pell City Garden Club has planned to construct a native plant walking trail next to the amphitheater.
“We’re enthusiastic about this whole area,” Trussell said.
She said the wetlands boardwalk was a community project, which involved many individuals and organizations.
“Thanks to all,” Trussell said. “It has been many, many years to get to this point.”
Current and past city officials praised LMLPA efforts in completing the wetlands project, which will benefit the entire community.
“LMLPA is one of the most amazing organizations in our area,” said former Pell City Mayor Bill Hereford. “This is just the crowning glory.”
Hereford was mayor when LMLPA officials first approached the city about building the boardwalk and observation platform.
“Y’all have done a tremendous job,” said current Pell City Mayor Joe Funderburg, who also spoke at the ribbon cutting event. “I’m proud to be from Pell City today.”
He said people will enjoy the wetlands boardwalk for many, many years to come.
“On behalf of the city, I want to thank you,” Funderburg said.
The Lakeside Park non-motorized trail joins the new $31,000 LMLPA boardwalk. The boardwalk has a 70-foot long walkway that leads to the 12 feet wide and 40 feet long observation platform, where people are provided a 360 degree view of the wetlands area at Lakeside Park.
The Rev. Sam Huffstutler with First United Methodist Church in Pell City blessed the wetlands boardwalk and observation platform before LMLPA and city officials cut the ribbon and guests toured the structure Thursday.
“This is a grand occasion for us,” Riley said.
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com