Today, thanks to an award-winning partnership and nearly two decades of ardent planning, Five Mile Creek’s future is bright. This stream is helping bring economic revitalization and revived natural beauty to the communities along its banks.

The remarkable story of the Five Mile Creek District began when the City of Tarrant’s Fire Chief William “Billy” Hewitt began looking to convert a dilapidated and flood ravaged mobile home park into a new city park.

The remarkable story of the Five Mile Creek District began when the City of Tarrant’s Fire Chief William “Billy” Hewitt began looking to convert a dilapidated and flood ravaged mobile home park into a new city park. During this same time, Wendy Jackson of Freshwater Land Trust was looking to acquire land along the stream as part of the Jefferson County Greenways Program. A chance meeting between these two eventually lead to the establishment of the Five Mile Creek District.

In 2002, the Five Mile Creek District was created by the cities Center Point, Tarrant, Fultondale, Gardendale, Brookside and Graysville. Each city committed to working with each other to improve water quality and develop a series of parks and trails connecting Five Mile Creek communities.

Since forming, the District has leveraged local, state, and federal funding and partnerships to begin the transformation of Five Mile Creek into an environmental and recreational model — one that could eventually become a major tourist draw for the region with the longest trail in Central Alabama.

In 2018, the District took a major step forward and purchased a 16.5-mile rail corridor using a federal transportation grant and $373,000 in matching funds from local partners. Already, Five Mile Creek Greenway has 15.8 miles of trail on the ground with another 20 miles planned. By providing safe and efficient transportation links, encouraging exercise and outdoor recreation, and protecting natural resources, Five Mile Creek Greenway will enhance the quality of life for local communities.

Today, the District continues to develop, build, and maintain parks and trails in each of the towns along the shores of Five Mile Creek with the ultimate goals of improving water quality and stimulating economic revitalization and growth.

Today, with no dedicated funding source, the Five Mile Creek District is building a greenway that includes a network of parks and trails in each of the towns along the creek.

Other District accomplishments include:

  • The acquisition of 450 acres of land in the upper watershed by Freshwater Land Trust.
  • $1,250,000 in transportation funding awarded to develop Tarrant’s park and greenways system
  • A $200,000 Brownfield Assessment Grant awarded to Freshwater Land Trust to assess brownfields within the watershed for redevelopment as greenways and economic redevelopment.
  • Property assessed by the Brownfield Grant is given a clean bill of health and is proposed as a donation to the City of Fultondale.
  • The City of Tarrant acquired the former Birmingham Water Works aqueduct, allowing the city to connect their schools, senior center, playground, athletic fields, and library via a greenway that traverses the city.
  • U.S. Geological Survey conducts water quality monitoring along the stream, which indicates the work of the District is improving the stream’s health.