The Gadsden City Council has greenlit a major renovation project for the Noccalula Falls Park campground.
As per a report from the Tuscaloosa News, the council, in its latest meeting, accepted a substantial bid of $11,376,500 from Lambert Contracting LLC, setting the stage for a comprehensive makeover of this popular outdoor destination.
The ambitious project, long in the planning stages, is now poised to commence, with the council aiming for completion within a year. This timeline necessitates the temporary closure of the campground, a decision reflecting the project’s extensive scope.
Funding for this large-scale renovation will be sourced from the city’s Capital Improvement Fund and Capital Improvement Fund 2. This financial strategy was detailed in an ordinance presented at the council meeting. Mayor Craig Ford emphasized the separation of these funds from a broader bond issue earmarked for park-wide improvements.
The renovation’s financing plan includes a repayment scheme, where the costs will be covered with 5% interest from park revenues. A significant portion of this repayment is expected to come from the Christmas at the Falls light show, which, in 2023, generated a record $1.1 million.
In his remarks, Mayor Ford highlighted the project’s broad impact, stating, “This is a game-changer for Gadsden.” He underscored the renovation’s significance not just for the local district but for the wider regions, including Etowah County, Northeast Alabama, and beyond.
The renovation encompasses a series of upgrades and new constructions. These include the realignment and expansion of the internal roadway network, complete with decorative lighting, and the introduction of new utility services throughout the campground. The project also involves the reconstruction and realignment of individual RV parking spots, enhancing both space and amenities.
Further, both bathhouses at the campground are set for renovation. A new zero-entry swimming pool, accompanied by a large pavilion, is planned, adding a modern touch to the park’s amenities. The existing administrative office will be converted into a rentable cabin, while a new administrative office is constructed.
The lower parking lot, located between Noccalula Road and the campground entrance, is also slated for reconstruction and resurfacing. Complementing these structural enhancements, new gateway signage and overall landscaping improvements are planned, aimed at elevating the aesthetic appeal of the area.
This comprehensive renovation of the Noccalula Falls Park campground represents a significant investment in the outdoor recreation industry. By enhancing the park’s facilities and aesthetics, the project is poised to boost tourism, attract more visitors, and contribute to the economic vitality of Gadsden and the surrounding regions. The initiative underscores the city’s commitment to improving its outdoor recreational spaces, aligning with broader trends in the outdoor hospitality and recreation industry.