Sand Mountain Park – Albertville, Alabama

December 1, 2022
Sand Mountain Park - Albertville, Alabama

Sand Mountain Park

A Vision Brought to Life

 

Business View Magazine interviews Patrick O’Brien, General Manager of Sand Mountain Park, for our focus on Top Events Venues in the U.S.

The City of Albertville, Alabama recently brought to life a vision that was a decade in the making, to upgrade and reinvent their parks and recreation facilities. Approaching the situation with a “go big” philosophy, the project has evolved to become a sports, leisure, wellness and entertainment venue, and a significant economic driver in the city.

Patrick O’Brien, General Manager of Sand Mountain Park, shares, “Parks and Recreation has always been a staple within the community. It got to a point where the community was starting to grow, and they wanted to invest resources to upgrade their facilities. Along that 10-year journey of putting all the pieces together, they found that there was a bigger appetite to expand what it could be, in such that the park could, in addition to improving quality of life, generate significant economic impact and really be a hub, not only for the city of Albertville, but for the entire Sand Mountain region.”

With a plan to officially welcome its first series of events in 2020, the park was in the midst of construction when COVID hit. “It was a challenging time in our country,” says O’Brien. “On the construction, design side, and feasibility side, there was a lot of perseverance, and steadfastness. The end goal was more important than what was happening around us.” Depicting how the incredible team of Chambless King Architects, the City of Albertville, Mayor Tracy Honea,City of Albertville City Council,the general contractors, and community stakeholders involved in the project remained focused on the end goal.  O’Brien reports, “We didn’t open the whole park at once. Our first series of events was in fall of 2020 at our outdoor diamond complexes for baseball and softball. From there we hit different milestones along the way, working towards a grand opening celebration in April of 2021. Now we’re at the end of our first full year of operation, and I’m proud to say that the park has exceeded expectations, in some areas very significantly.”

Sand Mountain Park - Albertville, Alabama

The City of Albertville, Alabama recently brought to life a vision that was a decade in the making, to upgrade and reinvent their parks and recreation facilities. Approaching the situation with a “go big” philosophy, the project has evolved to become a sports, leisure, wellness and entertainment venue, and a significant economic driver in the city.

Patrick O’Brien, General Manager of Sand Mountain Park, shares, “Parks and Recreation has always been a staple within the community. It got to a point where the community was starting to grow, and they wanted to invest resources to upgrade their facilities. Along that 10-year journey of putting all the pieces together, they found that there was a bigger appetite to expand what it could be, in such that the park could, in addition to improving quality of life, generate significant economic impact and really be a hub, not only for the city of Albertville, but for the entire Sand Mountain region.”

With a plan to officially welcome its first series of events in 2020, the park was in the midst of construction when COVID hit. “It was a challenging time in our country,” says O’Brien. “On the construction, design side, and feasibility side, there was a lot of perseverance, and steadfastness. The end goal was more important than what was happening around us.” Depicting how the incredible team of Chambless King Architects, the City of Albertville, Mayor Tracy Honea,City of Albertville City Council,the general contractors, and community stakeholders involved in the project remained focused on the end goal.  O’Brien reports, “We didn’t open the whole park at once. Our first series of events was in fall of 2020 at our outdoor diamond complexes for baseball and softball. From there we hit different milestones along the way, working towards a grand opening celebration in April of 2021. Now we’re at the end of our first full year of operation, and I’m proud to say that the park has exceeded expectations, in some areas very significantly.”

Sand Mountain Park - Albertville, Alabama

“One of the most powerful ways to market is word of mouth, and the sports tournament industry is smaller than people realize. We got out of the gate strong and were ready to put on a first-class tournament from day one, which is significant in our industry. You only get to make one first impression,” O’Brien says, detailing a system similar to an RFP process. We closely analyze the impact each tournament will potentially have. “We have 5/6/7 rights holders that complete for the same weekend, 40 -45 weekends a year for baseball and softball,” he relays.

The park does all youth and adult recreational programming for the city and host a nationwide baseball league called the Miracle League, which provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to participate in the sport,” O’Brien recounts. “We designed a field specifically for wheelchairs. It’s a turf baseball field that is a little bit smaller.

We host the Miracle League two times a year in the spring and fall. “Sharing that participation has grown from 50-124 players over the three leagues the park has hosted, he admits that the league’s impact has been incredible, with spectators coming to support or be part of the event. “We’ve received a lot of feedback that it has changed lives, and not just for the players but for the parents, spectators, and volunteers as well.

It’s one the largest Miracle Leagues in the region, and there was a huge need. There wasn’t a Miracle League type program in Marshall County, so we willed that need. “Sand Mountain Park has also offered an outdoor waterpark night for the special needs community and is considering an ice-skating night in the future.

During the concert season, which typically is spring-fall, the Sand Mountain Amphitheater hosts diverse entertainment options, Previous artists that have played include Nelly, Travis Tritt , 3 Doors Down, Lee Brice, the Commodores, TLC, Crowde and more. “This is our second full concert season, and we wanted to try to cater to every aspect of the community. So, we mixed up the genres of music,” says O’Brien. “We want to ensure that Sand Mountain Amphitheater is a music hub. We try to hit our niche, which is the medium to smaller concerts that cater to locals. We also attract and welcome people from outside the City of Albertville, including bigger cities, who want to see a show at a smaller, intimate venue.”

With a capacity of up to 5,000+, Sand Mountain Amphitheater is also used for community events, such as movie nights, wine and beer festivals,  and a Spring Fling for the City of Albertville school district. The amphitheater will also be home to Sand Mountain Skate, the largest real outdoor ice rink in North Alabama, offering holiday themed activities, private rentals and birthday parties, public skating, and a nightly light show, “which maximizes the impact of the venue and of course of the park itself through the winter months, and creates a hub of holiday themed activities for the region,” O’Brien asserts.

Looking to the future, O’Brien believes the park will continue to expand its impact, maintaining, “If we are positively impacting a million people this year, in three to five years, we want to try to get to two million, and keep building. We hope to continue, making Albertville and the Sand Mountain region, by way of Sand Mountain Park, one of the best places to live in the country. We also want to continue building Sand Mountain Park, one of the best and highest performing multi-use sports, entertainment, events and recreation venues in the entire country.”

AT A GLANCE

Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater

What: A 130-acre multi use sports, entertainment, recreation, and event venue

Where: Albertville, Alabama

Website: sandmountainpark.com, sandmountainamphitheater.com, sandmountainskate.com

Facebook: @sandmountainpark, @sandmountainamphitheater, @sandmountainskate

PREFERRED VENDORS

Romeo Entertainment Group – www.romeoent.com

The Albertville Chamber of Commerce – www.albertvillechamberofcommerce.com

Clear Winds Technologies – www.clearwinds.net

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