By Ally Morrison
Plans to build The Bray Town Center at Liberty Park with more than 600 single-family homes were approved by the Vestavia Hills City Council during a meeting March 14.
Intended to be a live, work and play environment, the 700-acre mixed-use property is now in the early stages of development.
According to the proposal, green space, retail, luxury hospitality, restaurants and office spaces are planned, and the development is projected to generate $307 million in city and county revenues over the next 25 years.
But Vestavia Hills residents raised concerns about how the development will affect the school system.
Superintendent Todd Freeman said the development would add about 1,000 students to Vestavia Hills City Schools, about 77 per grade.
That growth mostly likely will mean the school system has to build a new elementary school, council members were told.
Councilmember Kimberly Cook said she analyzed the numbers and concluded revenue from the project will be more than sufficient to build a new elementary school.
“In closing, I want to be very clear that our projections show the Bray will yield adequate funds for the school system to pay – on its own – for a new Liberty Park elementary school, a school the system predicts will likely be needed regardless of whether we approve the Bray or not,” Cook said.
The Liberty Park Joint Venture agreed to donate 15 acres to the school system after construction is concluded.
Officials said LPJV also will be building sanitary sewer lines, sidewalks and other infrastructure for the development.
John Bonanno, vice president of Liberty Park Daniel Communities, said construction is to begin as soon as possible, with plans to break ground as early as late spring or early summer.
Land preparation is projected to be completed within 12 months, and the construction of structures will follow.