Tuscaloosa City Council approves River District Park project

Carson Silas, Contributing Writer

The Tuscaloosa City Council unanimously approved a $7.3 million contract for the River District Park project on Tuesday. 

“The River District Park Project has the potential of being one of the most innovative, cultivated and essential facets in Tuscaloosa, [and] more importantly West Tuscaloosa,” District 1 Councilor Matthew Wilson said. “I believe that this opportunity has the potential of being a renaissance of West Tuscaloosa with the right awareness and involvement.”

The River District Park will be built next to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater at the northwest corner of Greensboro Avenue and Jack Warner Parkway. The park will serve as an extension of the Saban Center and offer recreational STEM activities to children and families in the Tuscaloosa community. 

The Saban Center will bring the Children’s Hands-On Museum, the Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre and the Tuscaloosa Public Library together in the Tuscaloosa News building, which the City Council voted to purchase for $8 million in October 2019.  

The Saban family and the Nick’s Kids Foundation donated $1.25 million to support the center’s development, and the City of Tuscaloosa renamed 28th Avenue to Nick’s Kids Avenue in July 2021. 

The River District Park project is part of Elevate Tuscaloosa, a larger city initiative. Wilson said he feels optimistic about the project.

“We’re realizing that this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Wilson said. “I also understand that this opportunity comes with challenges. So while we’re looking forward to it, we’re also prepared to meet the challenges so that the River District Park will be a park for all citizens, especially those of West Tuscaloosa.”