By Gary Lloyd
CLAY — Chalkville Bryant Park is still closed due to damage it suffered in October, according to Clay City Manager Ronnie Dixon.
During some inclement weather last month, outfield lights fell down. Dixon said the lights fell like dominoes as the wire tension from one pulled the next one over.
The city council had been discussing renovations to the park, and Dixon said the damage likely saved the city expensive demolition costs.
“We don’t have a time frame for re-opening, but the wires are up and safe,” Dixon said. “The poles have to be cut into manageable pieces and removed.”
The Clay City Council in June approved a proclamation recognizing and affirming the “historical importance” of Chalkville Bryant Park.
The proclamation recognizes the park as one of the oldest amateur ballparks in the United States, where longtime residents remember baseball games there as early as 1905, bringing people from Center Point, Clay, Mt. Pinson, Roebuck and Trussville.
The park property was owned by a local resident until 1956, when the Chalkville Civic Club, which was established to secure utilities and redevelop the park, bought 5.1 acres.
The civic club made improvements from 1956 to 1973, including a small building for use as a meeting place for its members and Boy Scouts. When the Chalkville Civitan Club organized in 1973, it made major renovations that included a softball field, tennis court, playground and enlargement of the building.
The park was renamed Chalkville Bryant Park in recognition of a local resident who donated money to buy 1.9 acres of road frontage, bringing the park property to seven acres. The Chalkville Civitan Club then donated the property to the city of Clay in 2007.
A building with restrooms is planned for the future, according to www.clayalabama.org.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.