Mayor Steven Reed announces Montgomery Forward projects

As seen on Alabama News Center

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed has announced the beginning of several new quality-of-life projects that are part of the Montgomery Forward initiative.

One of these projects is a new park in north Montgomery near the Alabama River. The Shady Street Trailhead and Park encompasses a three-block linear park north of the river.

Plans for the Montgomery Riverfront Trail Extension North. (contributed)

A drawing shows plans for Shady Street Trailhead Park. (contributed)

Based on recommendations from the Envision Montgomery 2040 Comprehensive Plan, Montgomery’s first citywide planning document in 60 years, Reed and Montgomery leaders seek to enhance the quality of place by developing unique land in flood-prone and contiguous forest areas.

The city’s Urban Forestry division planted native tree species, including young bald cypress trees. The ultimate goal is to connect the completed park to the Riverfront Trail and add a new greenway in Montgomery – another recommendation from Envision Montgomery 2040.

The project is a partnership between the city of Montgomery and organizations including River Region Trails, Montgomery Rotary and the Montgomery Lions Club. Reed allocated $100,000 to this project. Sponsorships from the Rotary and Lions clubs helped fund large portions of the Shady Street Trailhead and Park and the Riverfront Greenway.

Reed also shared plans for extensive renovations to the amphitheater at Riverfront Park. Additions include a children’s playable art area, covered pavilion, state-of-the-art lighting system, unrestrictive stadium seating that preserves much of the greenspace and upgrades to the splash pad. The goal is to bring more concert, entertainment and arts opportunities to the amphitheater.

A new restaurant and bar could help the city do that. The former Sandbar at Montgomery’s Riverfront Park will be transformed into Red Bluff Bar and operated by Jud Blount, founder and proprietor of Vintage Hospitality Group. The city entered into a lease agreement with Blount and Vintage Hospitality Group, whose portfolio includes Vintage Year, Vintage Café, MGM Greens, and City Fed and Ravello (opening soon). Blount was named Restaurateur of the Year and Executive Chef Eric Rivera was named a finalist by the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association.

More than $50 million is being invested in Montgomery as part a new city initiative to renew neighborhoods, revive infrastructure and build unrivaled facilities throughout the community.

“At its core, Montgomery Forward is meant to drive progress and support all of Montgomery,” Reed said. “That is a promise we made, and it is a promise we will keep. Whether you live in west, north, south or east Montgomery, you can expect to see tangible progress and dirt being turned on projects that will help us realize our vision for a more equitable and vibrant community.”

Montgomery Forward funds long-needed capital improvement projects. It was made possible through Reed’s restructuring of municipal finances to save $16 million to $18 million in taxpayer funds while generating new revenue through sales of municipal bonds in March 2021.

For more information on Montgomery Forward and its projects, please visit