A new park is now open for Birmingham residents, complete with walking trails, a multi use athletic field and a state-of-the-art playground. McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company opened the entrance to the new Greenwood Park on November 17, 2012. The two-acre park, which is part of the Village Creek Greenway, is located just off Interstate 20/59 between Tallapoosa and Coosa streets in Birmingham. It is directly across the interstate from W.C. Patton Park.
“I never thought I’d live to see this day, “said East Birmingham Neighborhood President Sterling Fields. “We just thank McWane.”
In addition to the amenities Greenwood provides to the community, the park has a natural stormwater-collection and treatment system lined with native shrubs and grasses. These features will filter stormwater from nearby surfaces that pass through the park on the way to Village Creek. The park will not only provide recreational opportunities for nearby residents but will also improve the water quality of Village Creek.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Greenwood, Birmingham Mayor William Bell stressed the importance of having great parks in the city – a point echoed by Birmingham city councilors Maxine Parker and Valerie Abbott. Congressman Spencer Bachus was also on hand for the grand opening.
The new park fits into the Village Creek Greenway, which is part of the regional Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System. McWane is on the steering committee, Champions for Village Creek Greenway, an ambitious group of business leaders, neighborhood association presidents and other non-profits working to develop trails along the creek.
The group’s mission is to engage and educate the community in the development of a series of parks and greenways along Village Creek with the goal of improving water quality and the quality of life for the community.
Greenwood Park lines up well with that mission.
“This project is a demonstration of our continuing commitment to improving the environment and the health and safety of our team members and the wellbeing of our communities,” said McWane President G. Ruffner Page.
This park project is part of the settlement of an enforcement action, United States v. McWane, Inc., taken on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce federal environmental laws. McWane suggested that a portion of the penalties be reinvested into the community through the construction of Greenwood Park. In a landmark agreement, the EPA and Department of Justice agreed to McWane’s request, and now, that dream has come to fruition. This project is a terrific example of a cooperative effort to turn past mistakes into present and future benefits.