It’s summertime, when most north Alabamians reignite their love affair with the great outdoors.
For many, this will involve being close to the water.
As some head south for the sandy shoreline; those “staycationing” will plan their adventures around the local bodies of water. One place that comes to mind is Ditto Landing.
What do most people associate with Ditto Landing? Water sports? Boating?
Well, yes, it’s that and a whole lot more than just a boat launch. There are campsites, a nature trail, and host of special summer events.
As part of the South Huntsville Main Street program, Ditto is on an upward growth trajectory. Brandi Quick, now in her third year as executive director, is re-establishing Ditto Landing as a recreation destination.
“I’ve been able to bring awareness.” Says Quick. “People will tell me, “I used to come down,” or “I’ve never been here before, it’s my first time.”
To meet the needs of the growing community, Ditto has plans for expansion over the next few years.
Along with a new entryway, there will be 40 additional campsites and an enhanced nature trail loop, which will seamlessly connect South Huntsville to Ditto Landing.
“The westbound Aldridge Creek bridge trail will go under the parkway and extend to the Land Trust trails, connecting it to the new Grissom greenway,” said Quick. “In doing so, it will create an extensive South Huntsville to Ditto loop.
“The bike trails are a hit. Blevins Bicycle Shop hosts a Sunset Ride – they leave Blevins and make their way here. Matt Blevins makes it easy for anyone at any level to ride.”
Some people just walk the trails and enjoy the view. There’s art along the Tennessee River Greenway: A trio of “Spaces” Sculptures, as part of a partnership with Arts Huntsville.
Despite the flooding from early this year, Ditto is back on track and is going full steam ahead.
“In February and March, the water was 15 feet higher than it is now,” said Quick. “We were closed for five weeks. That really set us back.
“Once the water receded, there was three inches of mud on every surface. It took another three to four weeks for clean-up.”
Quick credits the county and city with assisting Ditto in the cleanup, a team effort that expedited reopening.
Madison County Boat Harbor is also the process of a major improvement. It’s a $400,000 project that includes dredging the harbor, replacing the dock, and relocating the entryway.
“We still need the TVA permit and have applied for the Land Water Conservation grant,” said Quick. “I will know by November if the grant is approved. They’re still asking me questions; I think that’s a good sign.”