River District Park opens in downtown Tuscaloosa: 'Going to exceed everyone's expectations'

River District Park, a new facility funded by the city's Elevate Tuscaloosa tax plan, is now open to the public in downtown Tuscaloosa.

Mayor Walt Maddox announced the news in a Facebook post on Sept. 23.

"Today is an exciting day because River District Park is officially open! My team sent a preview last night of the RGB lighting throughout the park and under the Hugh R. Thomas Bridge and we’re so happy with how the lights and the entire park turned out," Maddox said.

Maddox later joined city leaders and developers to further discuss the new River District Park in an episode of Tuscaloosa Talk, a podcast hosted by the city of Tuscaloosa.

"I think this park is going to exceed everyone's expectations," Maddox said.

Sep 27, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  River District Park is open and is illuminated at night with a new lighting system that adds color to the Tuscaloosa river front area.
Sep 27, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; River District Park is open and is illuminated at night with a new lighting system that adds color to the Tuscaloosa river front area.

River District Park is next to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater along the bank of the Black Warrior River. The new park sits beneath the Hugh R. Thomas Bridge and includes green space, river-viewing areas, plaza space, a pavilion and public restrooms.

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The park will also feature red, green and blue LED lighting, component developers say will bring the park to life at night and increase safety for pedestrians.

Katy Beth Jackson, a financial manager for the city, said in the podcast that the park will provide one of the best views of the river that Tuscaloosa has to offer.

"One of the coolest features is just being able to get right down almost on the water. The river has always been one of my favorite features about Tuscaloosa," she said.

Jackson added that the park will provide a nice gathering place for people before a concert at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.

"You could have food trucks. There could even be a smaller concert happening right before an amphitheater show," she said.

She said the park could provide space for smaller festivals, performances and all kinds of other events.

Sep 27, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  River District Park is open and is illuminated at night with a new lighting system that adds color to the Tuscaloosa river front area.
Sep 27, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; River District Park is open and is illuminated at night with a new lighting system that adds color to the Tuscaloosa river front area.

"I think it's going to be a really great spot to hang out," Jackson said.

Maddox said the park will serve as a gateway to the western Riverwalk expansion which will begin construction in 2023. The park will also be an outdoor extension of the future Saban Center, which will occupy the old Tuscaloosa News building.

The park will connect to the Saban Center via a pedestrian bridge over Jack Warner Parkway.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony for River District Park will take place in October.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: River District Park officially opens in downtown Tuscaloosa