Northport City Council President Jeff Hogg is planning to build more than just a water park in the city -- he hopes to see an adventure park and a sports complex built on three separate sites simultaneously, he told the Thread Friday.

Hogg has long been a proponent of brining unique entertainment options to the city, and last September, his council unanimously voted to spend $700,000 on 151 acres of land off Rose Boulevard. Many assumed that land would be the eventual site of the water park Hogg has been pushing to build.

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That changed Thursday night, when Hogg and the city closed a deal to purchase another tract of land on U.S. Highway 82 past Big Lots and the Tractor Supply Co., behind and beyond the Taco Casa and Zaxbys restaurants there.

(Jeff Hogg on Facebook)
(Jeff Hogg on Facebook)

On the plot of land the city purchased last year, Hogg said he now envisions an outdoor adventure park.

"The 151 acres presented to us was just such a good deal that we couldn't refuse and at that point, we were looking at various quality of life products such as a water park, a sports complex and we also had ambitions of doing some kind of adventure park, so taking on that piece of property at a low cost was a win for everyone," Hogg said. "I think once we started really looking at that property, looking at the terrain and everything that can be done out there, it just made more sense to put an adventure park there and look for something else in terms of the water park and sports complex."

For those unfamiliar with the concept, Hogg said an adventure park would be geared toward outdoor recreational activities.

"It's for your people who like to be outdoors, it's more rugged, with mountain biking or bird-watching, there could be canoeing and kayaking, paddle boarding, ropes courses, we're going to put in a zipline throughout the property. It's just more outdoor, rugged-type adventure," he said. "COVID really changed things with the way people look at entertainment. More people want to be outside, want to take their kids with them and they want to be more adventurous."

Hogg said the city is still looking for a good piece of property for a sports complex of some kind, entirely separate from the water park and adventure park concepts.

"We want to see all these projects go simultaneously together," Hogg said. "When we put this one-cent sales tax in a couple of years ago, we said we would separate those Northport First funds out, we would do things that people could see and enjoy and want to see inside the city and not just have the money absorbed into the General Fund. I think we've done a good job with that, with what we've done so far and where we're headed."

Hogg didn't have a concrete timeline for the development of the projects, but said all three concepts are still in relatively early phases.

"This is just land acquisition, and the next phase will be the design phase. We'll be getting with the right people, we'll get a request for quotes out, we'll continue to meet with other municipalities that have been successful, we'll see what they've done and what they like and don't like, what's been positive and what they would change," Hogg said. "We're going to try to make this something everyone can be happy with."

For updates on all three projects as they develop, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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