City leaders and Bama football matriarch Terry Saban cut a ceremonial ribbon at downtown Tuscaloosa's River District Park Thursday morning, officially opening the area's newest attraction to the public.

The park is the first of many collaborations between the Saban family and the City, using funds from its Elevate Tuscaloosa tax plan. This initiative will invest hundreds of  millions of dollars into the city over the next 30 years for various projects for a brighter future.

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The Park is the first step in a complete revitalization of the downtown area near the Black Warrior River, with the STEM learning-focused Saban Center set to open there in 2025 and a medium-sized events center planned in the same area.

"I wasn't a big fan of this park a few years ago," city council president Kip Tyner said at the ribbon-cutting. "But after it passed, I became the biggest supporter of the park. I can already see the Saban Center, the event center, right there in the front."

The park is located next to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater off Jack Warner Parkway. It will serve as an outdoor extension of the Saban Center for additional programming opportunities.

Terry Saban, the co-founder of the Nick's Kids Foundation, said she's watched Tuscaloosa grow and develop into a thriving exciting city in the 16 years since her husband Nick Saban was named head football coach at Alabama.

"This park is part of that excitement," she said, "it's not just residents and visitors that are going to be here. I've had so many teachers say to me 'we can't wait for the new discovery center."

"Today is about a team effort," said Mayor Walt Maddox, "you never succeed alone in my opinion, not on Saturday, not in life."

Maddox thanked all parties involved in bringing the vision of the park to life.

"Victory knows 1,000 fathers and mothers who made this park, which is gonna be the symbol and cornerstone of our riverfront development westward and make us something we can all be proud of in this victory for Tuscaloosa."

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