To provide the citizens of Gardendale a broad array of recreational programming designed for ages 2 to 102. To provide attractive, safe, manicured parks for all citizens in our area. Also, to landscape and maintain high-profile areas assigned to our department such as all municipal buildings and some roadways.
Our recreational facilities have been strategically placed throughout our town for the convenience of all our citizens. They consist of a civic center, 8 tennis courts, 1 football field, 2 soccer fields, 9 baseball fields, 6 playgrounds, 5 softball fields, picnic areas and other open areas for exercise and play. Also, we maintain a good relationship with all of our area schools. By helping them any way we can, we are able to use their facilities for various programming and free play.
The department was established in March of 1970 with the hiring of Gene Cornett as Director. Our first truck was purchased from Ed Mollison Chevrolet on July 18, 1972 for $2,410.
The department has had four directors. Mr. Cornett from March 1970 to September 1975, John Brigham from December 1975 to February 2005 (John moved to Civic Center Director), Stan Hogeland from February 2005 to October 2012 and Dale Hyche from November 2012 to present.
In 1970, the City of Gardendale built the Civic Center at 960 Main Street. In October 1988 construction of our Parks Maintenance building was completed. In 2001 the new Civic Center Complex was built. In 2007, the City of Gardendale purchased to old Oakwood Cemetery office building and converted it into the Parks and Recreation Offices. This building also houses the Gardendale Chamber of Commerce office and the Gardendale Tennis Association office.
In August of 1994, under then Mayor G. William Noble, a beautification division was created within our department with a strong emphasis in beautifying the 2 major roadways within our town. Former Mayor Kenneth A. Clemons continued this emphasis.
The city population has grown from 6,502 in 1970 to approx. 14,000.
Today the Gardendale Parks and Recreation Department consists of 13 full-time and 2 part-time employees.
AREAS MAINTAINED BY PARKS AND RECREATION
G. William Noble Athletic Complex; Municipal Tennis Courts; Kiddie Park; Parks Maintenance shop; Memorial Park; Mini Park; Twin Ridge entrance; Luman Harris Park; Civic Complex; City Hall and Inspections grounds; Fieldstown Road from Highway 31 to Cades Cove; Highway 31 medians from south to north city limits; Mt. Olive Road medians from Moncrief Road to Chevron station; G.H.S. baseball and football fields; Bragg Middle School playground and softball field; Gardendale Elementary playground; Soccer Complex; Celebration Park; Splash Pad at Celebration Park and other high profile areas that our department has landscaped.
It is the responsibility of the Parks and Recreation Department to help plan, coordinate and staff all special events held in our city. These include: baseball, softball and soccer tournaments, Magnolia Festival, City picnics, Christmas decorating and lighting and many other events.
AWARDS – DEPARTMENTAL AND INDIVIDUAL
1997 Jefferson County Beautification Award
John Brigham – 1996 Beautification Appreciation Award (Chamber of Commerce)
Tim Green – 1998 Employee of the Year Award (Chamber of Commerce)
Linda Harris – 1996 Ava Grimmett Tireless Worker Award (Chamber of Commerce)
Stan Hogeland – 1996 Citizen of the Year Award (Chamber of Commerce)
2006 America In Bloom “Tidiness” Award
NOTE: In 1974, L.E. Driver, then chairman of the Parks and Recreation Board, received the Outstanding Lay Person Award from the Alabama State Parks and Recreation Society for his time and dedication to our department as well as our entire city. Mr. Driver, who passed in 1994, was instrumental in developing our parks system. We miss him to this day. In his honor, a little league field and the G.H.S. football stadium bear his name.
EMPLOYEES – TITLE AND LENGTH OF SERVICE – as of 10-2016
Dale Hyche – Parks and Recreation Superintendent – 26 years
Dari Walker – Administrative Assistant – 17 years
Greg Hughes – Parks Maintenance Supervisor – 21 years
Chris Lorino – Parks Maintenance Supervisor – 21 years
Jeff McKinney – Skilled Laborer – 24 years
Norman Miller – Skilled Laborer – 14 years
Jeremy McDaniel – Skilled Laborer – 11 years
Mark Thomas – Skilled Laborer – 9 years
Blake Green – Skilled Laborer – 3 years
Brent Bond – Laborer – 6 years
Zac Bowen – Laborer – 1 year
Jeremy Blackburn – Laborer – 1 year
Part-time employees, David Dudley, Wesley Felix and Julie Jasper, also play a key role within our department in staffing special events and working in our parks system during peak usage and helping keep our facilities neat and clean.
We are extremely fortunate to have an excellent group of employees across the board. All are called upon frequently to work odd hours and to give up time with their families in order to provide the citizens of Gardendale, first-class facilities during the different sports seasons and special events listed previously.