Gateway Park

By on 8 January, 2014 in City Living, City services, Fun, Government, Outdoors, Parks with 0 Comments

We love public parks. They are the quintessential example of government spending for the common good. Even in an era where people are constantly staring at phones or computer screens, pretty much everybody enjoys open green spaces. Having parks encourages exercise, which is a public health virtue, and property located near parks is always worth a little bit more. Cities large and small across the country are constantly trying to develop additional “green spaces” to improve the quality of life of their residents.

We have written a lot about parks here at Midtown Montgomery Living, so we were especially anxious to write a review of one of our city’s largest parks.

Lagoon Park is the largest of the city’s park holdings (400-plus acres), but Gateway Park is up there among the titans of the Montgomery park system. Sadly, the city has taken park sizes off of its otherwise beautiful new Parks and Recreation website. But Gateway has got to be one of the larger parks we have. It’s also one of the best.

You’ve seen Gateway (3800 Davenport Drive), even if you have never been out there. It’s visible from I-65 south of the city. It’s the big park with the golf course and the pond containing the water skiing ramp.

The day we went was not ideal for a park to look its best. It was a gray and dreary, somewhat mushy, brisk day at the end of December. You don’t really see a park’s beauty until it turns green and is filled with people throwing frisbees, having picnics and walking dogs. Still, Gateway managed to impress us in a way that might lead us to return there when the weather improves.

The first thing you notice is that the area around the entrance to the park needs some work. It’s not an especially inviting approach. The run-down blight of the West-South Boulevard is not exactly the dramatic approach that you want to see welcoming you to one of the city’s treasured resources.

Still, the park sports a nine-hole golf course, a first-rate playground and a couple of nice walking paths that merit checking out. We took our dog and bundled up and went out to the land of the ski ramp. We first looked at the outside of the lodge, which the city suggests might be a good place for you to rent for your next 250-person banquet. Seems nice enough, but hard to tell much without going inside.

We took a lap around the pond and wondered when the last time anyone had ever put on a water skiing exhibition there. There are metal bleachers there, but no shade. If the weather is warm enough for water skiing (and ramp jumping!) it is probably going to be warm enough to make spectators uncomfortable on the heat-absorbing metal bleachers. Who skis there? When? Why?

We circled the pond and enjoyed the view from the far side, where you are at least partially shielded from the sound of cars flying up and down I-65. The back side of the park runs up against some railroad tracks and could use a little landscaping.

We discovered an old boat and trailer that was evidently once used for some kind of water ski show, but it looked pretty ravaged by the weather and probably hadn’t been out on the water in over a decade. You never want to feel like parts of your city park have been abandoned for that long, and the whole thing gives off the feeling of “somebody once thought this was a good idea.”

We emerged and explored the golf course club house, where people were getting in a few swings before New Years Eve. The nearby playground is top notch and should be a destination for children from around the city. The area could use a little drainage work though. After a sturdy rain, there were a lot of unsightly mud puddles and marshy land that made off-sidewalk walking a little perilous.

Another highlight was the well-maintained fitness equipment along the walking path near the playground. The machines function well and seem like a lot of fun. We might actually return just to walk and get some exercise. They are in much better shape than the exercise stations along the path at Vaughn Park, so we hope the city will continue to keep them in great condition. They’re a real asset to the park.

All in all, we had a nice time at Gateway and consider it one of the top parks available in Montgomery. There’s a lot of open space perfect for throwing a frisbee. In fact, there’s so much open space that some of it could be improved by putting in a large piece of contemporary art or sculpture. A few benches with coverings for shade would also look nice and add to the park’s attractiveness during the summer months. It’s wide open out there.


Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, ten fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.



Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *