Higgins Ferry sees additions and improvements made around the park

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Chilton County Commissioners, Chilton County Park Ranger Donald Giles and his wife Kathy and other Chilton County delegates gathered at Higgins Ferry Park in Clanton on Feb. 22 to showcase improvements and additions made to the park in recent months.

A new 30-by-30-foot, wheelchair-accessible pavilion was built at the park near the boat launch, and a new designated swimming area was created near the new pavilion and away from the boat launch and boating traffic on the lake for visitors to use. Other improvements and additions to Higgins Ferry included a new concrete seawall to replace the old one that was allowing water to wash onto the bank, replacing the steps going down to the boat launch, renovations to the John Trobaugh Pavilion and weigh station and culvert concerns around the park.

Visions for the improvements at the park began three years ago, and when the Chilton County Commission budgeted the improvements into its park finances, Commissioner Darrell Bone took ownership of overseeing the work being done. Bone was assigned to the park as part of his duties as commissioner.

“I want to give him credit for all of the hard work he has done, and he has done a good job putting all of this together,” fellow commissioner Randell Kelley said. “A lot of time and work went into this, and we appreciate everyone who had a part in it.”

Bone, Kelley and the other commissioners in attendance gave Chilton County Park Ranger Donald Giles a special thank you for the upkeep of the park and the cleanliness that has been associated with it in recent times as the improvements were being made.

“(The park) has improved tremendously over the last few years, and thank you to the county commissioners for allowing the remodeling and adding on of this stuff,” Giles said. “We are getting more campers coming in and out, and the county is not having to put in as much money towards the park as it used to. Keeping it clean is a pretty big job sometimes, keeping the grass cut and stuff, but it is coming along well.”

Giles’ wife, Kathy, plays a huge part in the upkeep of the park, as well as being the volunteer public relations director and donating her time for the enjoyment of visitors.

“She cares about the county and this place, and we really thank her for her time,” Chilton County Commissioner Jimmie Hardee said. “She has a vision for this park, and this park is now like nothing it has ever been.”

Kathy Giles has hosted Halloween events, food trucks and other events at Higgins Ferry, making the park a community thing and a fun experience for all visitors.

“If you are living in the park, you are with it full time,” Kathy Giles said. “Me and my husband have giving hearts, so if someone says ‘My battery is dead,’ I do not care if it is 10 p.m. at night, we will come out. Anything we can do to help the public and make sure they have an enjoyable experience here. With the pavilion, swimming area and just giving the general public access to the water, it gives everyone an area to come and make memories with their families. Hopefully, there are a lot more additions to come in the future, and this park will continue to grow.”

The improvements at Higgins Ferry allows anyone who visits the park to utilize its lake. Other improvements to the park are in the works and plans are to budget those into the park financials in the next fiscal year as well. Bass tournaments and other events are being planned for the park following the improvements.

“This is not just for the county, it is for people outside of the county too because people from all over use this lake,” Hardee said. “This park is going to grow, it stays full, and the key is to keep this park where we can afford to keep it open, economically. I cannot say enough about Donald Giles and his wife, they are the reason why this park looks the way it does, and commissioner Bone spent countless hours down here making sure everything is taken care of. We have so many things that we do, someone has to take the ball and roll with it, and he sure has.”

Higgins Ferry Park is located at 11161 County Road 28, Clanton.