Vestavia Hills Unveils Ambitious Plans: Sicard Hollow Revamp, Mine Reclamation, Shane Ware

Vestavia Hills Unveils Ambitious Plans: The Vestavia Hills City Council gathered on a Monday night, giving the green light to the Alabama Department of Labor’s mine reclamation office for mass grading efforts on former coal mines nestled within the Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex and the adjacent land currently owned by Liberty Park Joint Venture.

This strategic move marks the initial phase of a grand master plan aiming to transform the land into a versatile space, envisioning additional sports fields, a police training facility, and a new branch for the Vestavia Hills Library.

To make this vision a reality, the city plans to engage in a land swap with the Liberty Park Joint Venture. The financial backing for this project is solid, as the entire endeavor is bankrolled by the state’s mine reclamation program—a reliable resource that has benefitted the city in the past.

Councilman George Pierce expressed gratitude, stating, “The Coal Mine Reclamation Program has been very, very good to our city.”

In addition to this groundbreaking project, the City Council welcomed Shane Ware as the new police chief during the same meeting.

City Manager Jeff Downes, in a prior announcement, appointed Ware, a Vestavia Hills police captain, to fill the role left vacant after the passing of the beloved Chief Dan Rary on August 1.

Downes emphasized the commitment to honor Rary’s legacy, fostering the family atmosphere and traditions he brought to the Vestavia Hills Police Department.

Surrounded by family and colleagues, including his wife, mother, son, in-laws, and grandchildren, Ware expressed his deep honor at being chosen as the next police chief. He pledged to uphold the department’s values with honor and integrity, promising to invest in the department just as others had invested in him throughout his career.

Vestavia Hills Unveils Ambitious Plans 1

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Ware, with a law enforcement journey spanning 23 years, initiated his career with the Bessemer Police Department in 1996. The formal swearing-in ceremony for Ware as the police chief is scheduled for the upcoming council meeting on December 11.

During the session, the City Council also:

1. Approved the construction of an indoor/outdoor plant nursery in the Patchwork Farms development on Healthy Way in the Altadena Community.

2. Vacated easements at 1459 and 1467 Montgomery Highway.

3. Approved amended language to an agreement between Vestavia Hills, Jefferson County, and Birmingham regarding a project to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Blue Lake Drive and Sicard Hollow Road. The project is set for bid on Dec. 19, with construction expected to commence in the spring of 2024.


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