City of Vestavia Hills

Vestavia Hills,

Community Recreation And Athletics Master Plan

By 2015 Vestavia Hills, Alabama had as its desired brand “A Life Above,” and wanted to deliver a quality-of-life experience to its residents that was in keeping with that brand. The city’s athletic facilities, however, were unevenly mixed, with tournament-quality playing conditions located in less accessible locations and outdated facilities in close proximity to the population center. In addition, the community’s robust participation in youth sports exceeded current capacity, resulting in strained field conditions, condensed practice/game times, an inability to add new sports, and limited opportunities for adults to engage in recreational interests. To address these issues, Vestavia Hills engaged B&D to create a recreation and athletics master plan by evaluating current and future demand and developing a strategic roadmap for achieving the community’s vision. Following an in-depth tour of existing athletic and recreation facilities, our approach included:

• A Strategic Asset Value work session with representatives from the Parks and Recreation Board, the Park Foundation, the Board of Education, the Chamber of Commerce, and elected city officials to develop a comprehensive understanding of the vision for the city’s recreation and athletics experience.
• A demographic analysis to define the target market and inform demand projections.
• Focus group interviews with community youth sports organizations to create a qualitative understanding of satisfaction levels with current athletic and recreation facilities and preferences for future facilities.
• Interviews with city staff and leaders of local youth sports organizations to confirm current use of indoor and outdoor facilities by season.
• A web-based survey of the community to assess current and future preferences for recreation and athletic facilities.

We identified an acute need for centrally located outdoor fields and recommended adding eight to 10 youth rectangle fields for football, lacrosse, rugby, and soccer, and two to four smaller diamond fields for baseball and softball. This would align with our demand model showing a need for 2,050 more hours of field capacity. To address facility quality imbalance, we outlined an improvement plan covering the facilities’ differing needs and involving various levels of investment, such as adding shaded seating, increasing parking capacity, and renovating restrooms. Regarding the need for increased indoor space, we recommended that the city add three to four courts and a modernized aquatic facility, consistent with the community’s strategic vision.


In a survey of about 1,700 Vestavia residents, the firm found that 2/3 of respondents agreed that the city’s current recreational capacity is not enough.


With a growing sports program and limited fields to handle the influx of young athletes, Vestavia Hills city and recreational officials commissioned a study to address the city’s future recreational needs earlier this year.