Donated land gives Alabama city 19+ acres for park expansion

Published 6:31 am Sunday, August 1, 2021

The footprint for an Alabama city’s public parks is set to grow thanks to a private donation that will add close to 20 acres of land to the area.

The Hanceville City Council last week unanimously agreed to accept 19.52 acres (7.899 hectares) of land from property owner Lillie Tucker. And as one of the first moves as the new owners, the council named a new botanical park that will occupy the space in honor of Lillie and her late husband, Larry Tucker, The Cullman Times reported.

Mayor Kenneth Nail said it will take some time for the city to begin developing amenities at the new park, but adds that there already is a long-term vision for how the park will fit in with Hanceville’s other public spaces. That’s reflected in the park’s name: it’ll be known as The Larry and Lillie Tucker Arboretum.

As an arboretum, the park will be lightly developed as a curated natural space; one that features local flora with only a modest construction footprint. The city’s still early in planning for any structures that could be erected, but Nail and council members discussed ideas at its meeting that included elevated wooden walkways, signage identifying featured plants and wildlife, and an outdoor pavilion.

“We’ve got some good things planned already, and of course the council will need to be in agreement on anything that we do,” said Nail. “We’ve talked with engineers about building an outdoor learning pavilion over there. The location also puts us in a position where we’re going to have access to the state right of way.

“There may be an opportunity there to link the park with Veterans Park across the road — for guests to walk right under the Mud Creek bridge on Highway 31, and end up at Veterans Park without having to fight any traffic. And we want to keep everything natural. If the council approves it, the idea is even to keep the trails natural — no concrete.”

The council also approved a property tax credit for Tucker, whose donated land was appraised ahead of the gift for an estimated $200,000.