With construction of a kayak launch in the background, County Commission President Merceria Ludgood told a crowd a new public-private partnership for the Three Mile Creek Greenway would help continue work her 94-year-old mother wanted to see started.
Ludgood, who grew up on the creek, said she remembers her mother going to “a very different City Hall” and advocating for residents over flooding and other issues.
“It’s on my mother’s heart … to see some of the transformation they wanted to see sooner,” Ludgood said. “This investment allows those people to reclaim what was a community nuisance and turn it into a community treasure.”
Ludgood was joined by Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, State Sen. Vivian Figures and Mike Rogers, president of Rogers & Willard Construction at the banks of the creek at Tricentennial Park Monday to introduce a new public-private partnership to further advance the project.
The so-called 3MC Partnership looks to bring volunteer business support to the remaining portions of the project tasked with linking the creek from the University of South Alabama to downtown. Rogers, 3MC Partnership chairman, said among other goals, 3MC will get private business leaders involved in fundraisers for the project.
“The trail is very unique in the way it will connect communities,” Stimpson said. “Through this public-private partnership will be able to bring new resources to the project.”
Figures said she would do whatever she could at the state level to help move the project forward. She added she looked forward to using the trail.
“I wasn’t born here, but I have lived in this community for 30 years,” she said. “I can see myself walking or biking with my granddaughter up and down this trail.”
In addition to the partnership, the city and the Mobile County Health Department recently announced more than $9.2 million from RESTORE Act funds coming to the trail. Also, Stimpson announced a $555,000 grant for the continuation of a walking trail.
Discussions for a path along Three Mile began in the 1980s. Women Making a Difference, a public health advisory board for the Mobile County Health Department, got things rolling in 2013 by applying for and receiving a $218,650 grant from the Sybil H. Smith Charitable Trust. This money was used to complete the 0.8-mile section now in use at Tricentennial Park, according to the MCHD statement.
The kayak launch is set to be completed in time for the fourth annual Creek Fest, taking place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a statement from the MCHD.
Creek Fest is a celebration of Three Mile Creek, which was the city’s first source of drinking water. The event will include a cane-pole fishing tournament for ages 16 and under, along with other family-friendly activities. Live music, food and canoe/kayak rides also will be part of the half-day event as the natural beauty of one of Mobile’s historic waterways is showcased.