Birmingham, Alabama — The Kiwanis Club of Birmingham has officially cut the ribbon on the Kiwanis Centennial Park and Kiwanis Vulcan Trail. As a gift to the community, this project marks Kiwanis’ 100 years of service. The $5.8 million enhancement to Vulcan Park and Museum was spearheaded by the 550-plus members of the club in cooperation with Vulcan Park and Museum and Freshwater Land Trust.
“We’ve reconnected Vulcan to its WPA roots and to the people of downtown Birmingham. With the trail we have created sort of a Central Park. You have to see it to believe it.” said Tom Thagard, Kiwanis Centennial Park Committee Chair. “Ninety-years later we have finally realized Olmstead’s vision to create a linear park from Vulcan across Red Mountain to George Ward Park. We’ve preserved the north face of Red Mountain for our children and grandchildren forever.”
The Kiwanis Centennial Park Project has three components:
The north side of Vulcan Park, once in significant disrepair, has now been transformed into Kiwanis Centennial Park, a new municipal park and event space that can be used by Birmingham residents communitywide. A new plaza, fountain and steps leading up to Vulcan connect Downtown Birmingham to Vulcan both physically and visually.
“Just as the Statue of Liberty stands for our country, Vulcan serves as the unifying symbol of our city for generations past and generations to come,” said Lawrence Whatley, Vulcan Park and Museum Foundation Board Chair. “Though forged from elements that lay beneath us, he stands tall above us Reminding us of what we came from and what we can achieve as a community. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, the committee and all who made this project possible.”
The second component is Kiwanis Vulcan Trail, a 2-mile jogging and biking trail extending to Green Springs Highway and serving as the future hub for the planned 750 miles of Birmingham’s Red Rock Trail System.
Libba Vaughan, Executive Director, Fresh Water Land Trust added, “When I look at Vulcan, everywhere Vulcan can see, this trail will be. And to me it represents just not where we’ve been, but our collective future and how we can spur economic development through trails and greenspace. How we can improve our quality of life and collective health and how we can attract people to stay and move to our community.”
The third component, a dynamic, multi-colored light show projected onto Vulcan each night, to be completed later this year.
“For me it’s one word, connectivity. We know the history of our city and our region and we know what Vulcan stands for and how he links to our past. But this trail and this park is a spark in our present and future as it relates to connectivity for our entire city and region,” said Mayor Randall Woodfin.
‘We have to be in a place where we talk about improving quality of life, and what better way than parks, greenspaces and trails where people can walk, can bike, can run and do anything they want as an individual or family. The Kiwanis Centennial Park and Kiwanis Vulcan Trail are very impressive and I am, just as a Kiwanian, glad to be a part of it. We’re excited as a City to support all of the work that’s been done, and personally I look forward to riding my bike on the trail.”
About Kiwanis Club of Birmingham
The Kiwanis Club of Birmingham continues to celebrate 100 years of service in Birmingham with its gift to the community of Kiwanis Centennial Park. The 550-plus strong membership of the group that meets weekly at The Harbert Center is proud to be the largest Kiwanis Club in the world. Attracting business leaders across professions provides the club with a wealth of talent to pour into its civic projects impacting our city.
About Vulcan® Park and Museum
Vulcan Park Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization which operates Vulcan Park and Museum on behalf of the City of Birmingham. Vulcan Park and Museum’s mission is to preserve and promote Vulcan as the symbol for the Birmingham region, advance knowledge and understanding of Birmingham’s history and culture, and to encourage exploration of the region.
About Freshwater Land Trust
The Freshwater Land Trust is a nonprofit organization whose mission is the acquisition and stewardship of lands that enhance water quality and preserve open space. Since 1996, the group has worked to acquire, conserve, and connect lands that are critical for the protection of rivers and streams and that provide recreational opportunities for the community.