City officials say they are still a few weeks away from opening the Graham Street Southwest extension that will serve as the new entrance to Ingle Park and the Field of Miracles.

"We're not quite ready to open the street yet," said Mayor Don Green. "It will probably take us another three to four weeks at least to get sidewalks installed and surface striping down on the new roadway and that is if the weather cooperates."

Traffic lights have been installed at the new Graham Street/Main Avenue Southwest intersection, but won't be turned on until the road is formally opened, Green said.

"When the street is completed we'll be ready to turn the lights on. Right now we just want everyone who drives Main Avenue to get used to the new signals being there," Green said.

Green said more than likely city officials will want to cut a ribbon to commemorate the opening of the new street.

"This is a project we are very proud of and every citizen of Cullman and Cullman County can be proud of," Green said.

Green said some people who travel Main Avenue may be under the assumption that the street is open because of traffic seen going in and out of the parking lot to the new Heritage Profession Building, located at the southwest corner of Main Avenue and Graham Street.

"There may be some clients and customers who are using a portion of Graham to access the parking lot at the new medical complex, but the street is not open to through traffic," Green said.

Heritage Professional Building completed construction on its 20,000 square-foot, two-story medical complex in November.

Four businesses currently occupy the complex, including Cullman Urgent Care, Heritage Pharmacy, Performance Group Cullman, a spine and back clinic, and Cullman Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Phase II of the Heritage Medical Complex project, a 10,000 square-foot facility, is also under way. A diagnostic center with MRI and CT services will occupy 3,500 square feet, and the remaining two suites will be available for lease.

In addition to the street extension, Green said preparations for construction of the new $1.84 million Field of Miracles baseball complex are on track.

The centerpiece of the complex will be the Field of Miracles, a baseball/softball field designed with a special rubberized surface for people who are physically and mentally challenged.

John Hunt, director of Cullman City Parks and Recreation, says the complex will feature covered bleachers, rest rooms and concessions and have a look that is "reminiscent of the old Wrigley Field."

"There will also be a playground area in the middle of the complex that is totally rubberized underneath to provide a cushion in the event a child falls. There has never been anything like that in Cullman before," Hunt said.

The complex itself will be built as a single-level facility in contrast to the three-story tower at Heritage Park.

Officials expect the Field of Miracles to be completed this spring. Completion of the other three ball fields is expected in late summer or early fall.

Those fields will accommodate all classifications of boys and girls teams, with the exception of the older boys.

"They will be too small for our 14 and 15 year old boys, but they'll be fine for everybody else," Hunt said. "We're designing the fields to be 250 feet from home plate to the outfield fence, which will be 10 feet tall. So, it will take a good blast to clear that. Of course, we have the smaller, portable fences for our T-ballers and younger age groups."

The Field of Miracles softball/baseball complex is the first phase of an estimated $10 million comprehensive Ingle Park expansion which will include an aquatics center and a renovated senior center.

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