“Saturday is the official opening,” said Harold “Bubba” Edge, the Pell City Parks and Recreation Department director. “I know a lot of people are anticipating this.”
The city's street superintendent, Mike Martin, was out at the park with his crew Thursday, clearing the beach area and digging up large stumps from trees recently cut down to make way for the new beach.
“Are you filling in or building a beach?” Bill Owings of Pell City asked workers.
“Building a beach,” one worker responded.
“My grandkids will love it,” Owings said.
Owings was at the park with his wife, Gail, and one of their granddaughters, Kaitlyn, 5, of Calera. The Owings are originally from Sylacauga.
“Pell City has a nice park for the size town it is,” Owings said as he looked back at the new beach area. “I bet it won't take them long.”
Martin agreed, saying it should not take workers more than a couple of days complete the beach project.
“We have to undercut it, take dirt out,” Martin said. “Then we will start putting the sand in. It won't take long.”
City officials said about 150 tons of sand was ordered to build the new beach, which is between the stationary pier and the wooden walking bridge that spans across Lakeside Park to the Sports Complex. Tall piles of sand were already in the beach area, and workers said another load of sand was on its way.
“They want to have it ready for the Memorial Day weekend,” Martin said.
Edge said park visitors should start swimming in the new designated swim area Saturday morning.
He said the beach area is about 300 feet wide, and the deepest water in the designated swim area is about five feet, when the lake is at full pool.
“It's a good area to swim in,” Edge said.
He said park workers were putting together four new picnic tables for the beach area.
“We ask the public not to move the picnic tables around,” Edge said.
He also asked that people pick up their trash before leaving the beach area and to help keep the new swimming area clean.
Edge said new signs are already up at the designated beach area, and “No Swimming” signs were placed around the boat launch area of the park, adjacent to the new swim area.
“That's one reason we are doing this,” he said. “We want to separate the boats from the people.”
Edge said the city's marine police will put up buoys to mark the boundary of the new swim area.
Police Chief Greg Turley said the new swim area is a great idea, and alleviates a big safety concern by city officials.
“Boats and swimmers do not mix,” Turley said.
He said boaters putting boats into the lake at times can't see swimmers when backing boats down the city's boat launches.
Turley said the new swim area is going to be nicer, safer and better for public.
“It will greatly improve the area for swimmers,” he said.
Edge said the new beach area should easily accommodate about 100 people.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.