The newly opened Cahaba River Walk, designed by Nimrod Long and Associates of Birmingham, connects the surrounding neighborhoods of Mountain Brook and the larger city together with the ephemeral landscapes of the Cahaba River. The design gives fresh form to what always has been an important informal spot on the river; embracing the beach stone, mixed hardwood forest, the history of the fishing ledge to create great new public access. Insights gleaned through community meetings inform the ½ mile bike and pedestrian loop, nature trail system and picnic pavilion. This site intentionally connects to the larger Cahaba Blueway network of public river access and wild urban experience.
Joel Eliason, lead landscape architect, entices, “the park has a lot of great trees; diverse riverbank species such as sycamore, maple and a favorite, the big leaf magnolia. There are also some amazing ephemerals: native wildflowers, herbaceous perennials and grasses, especially in the spring…found only in undisturbed woodlands and floodplains.”
Extending the larger network of vital public spaces, river access and infrastructure is important to the city, as is connecting its past with its future. “We love to encourage young designers, builders and citizens who give back to the community through public work,” says Eliason. At the river walk, two Eagle Scouts have pitched in, one with a split-rail fence and another with a gravel path that engages the bioswale with native plants. Stay tuned for the next phases of the park and the Cahaba River Walk!