Imagine navigating through thrilling rapids on the sides of a whitewater raft, paddling the waves in an inflatable kayak or sitting in an outdoor green space for an afternoon read. Montgomery Whitewater is a newly built aquatic playground in Montgomery, Alabama, that’s set to turn this historical capital city into a top water sports destination.
“The Montgomery Whitewater project is one of the signature developments of the city and this region in decades,” Mayor Steven L. Reed declares to EBONY.
“It’s a 120-acre outdoor lifestyle center with 12 million gallons of water pumping through it each and every day. It is a tremendous lifestyle project for us that involves moving rapids and other outdoor initiatives to enhance the quality of life in Montgomery and Central Alabama.”
The multi-year construction of the waterway has resulted in a unique space designed for water enthusiasts and elite athletes alike. “The goal is not only to have Olympic training here but also training for public safety and first responders,” Mayor Reed shares.
He sees the project as an ideal complement to Montgomery’s cultural markers, like the 54-mile path between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, a National Historic Trail since 1966.
“For those traveling to Montgomery for our Civil Rights trail and the Equal Justice Initiative’s Memorial and Museum, this provides an opportunity for them to stop and to take advantage of our new project.”
Mayor Reed is also committed to making this an inclusive space for all Montgomery residents. “For many kids and adults who may not have access to activities on the lake or the beach just a couple hours south of here, we are providing great outdoor and water experiences,” he says. “We are reaching out to our public schools, which overwhelmingly consist of Black and brown students, and organizational and faith leaders to invite them to this location."
A perfect day at Montgomery Whitewater can include a kayaking lesson, lunch at Eddy’s at Montgomery Whitewater, its on-site restaurant, and reading a book in its green space. “Maybe one by yours truly called First, Best: Lessons in Leadership and Legacy from Today's Civil Rights Movement,” Mayor Reed suggests.
With phase one of Montgomery Whitewater complete, Mayor Reed is focused on implementing its next phases. “We’re adding ziplining and more trails and access to the Alabama River itself.”
Just reelected to his second term, Mayor Reed, a native of Alabama’s capital city, is its first Black mayor. “To be the chief executive officer for this historic city has been a tremendous honor,” he shares. “Having a project like Montgomery Whitewater shows the growth and progress of the community and what we're trying to build here. We’re focused on tomorrow on how to build a better quality of life for our entire community.”