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Elevate Parks & Recreation (Tree & Green

Harris-Nicol Water Recreation and Trails

Updated Mar 03 2023

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Elevate Tuscaloosa seeks to improve access to Harris Lake and Lake Nicol and expand the recreational opportunities at each lake to attract locals and visitors to explore over 1,800 scenic acres of preserved park land around the lakes. The process begins with developing a master plan that will envision the future of the lakes. The master plan will provide design standards for any improvements made to the lakes, options for improvements that could be made, and a proposal for phasing in the improvements over time.

Harris Lake was built in 1929 to provide a new drinking water source to residents, who were drinking water from the Black Warrior River previously. The lake is comprised of 220 acres and about 1 billion gallons of water. Harris Lake was created by damming Little Yellow Creek and used two true arch dams, the first of their kind built in the state of Alabama. 

Lake Nicol was built in 1956 as an additional source of water supply. The lake is comprised of 384 acres and holds about 3.3 billion gallons of water. Both lakes are owned by the City of Tuscaloosa. While both serve as backup sources of water supply to Lake Tuscaloosa, the two lakes serve primarily recreational purposes now. Both are located within a thirty minutes’ drive of Tuscaloosa City Hall.

Goals and Impact
  • Expand recreational opportunities for Tuscaloosa families

  • Highlight the natural beauty the Tuscaloosa area has to offer

  • Attract visitors to Tuscaloosa

Project Updates

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Key Milestones & Events
Up Next:
  • Community Enagement Event held on August 22, 2022

  • Lakes community input survey held from June 30 through August 29

Project Materials

August 22, 2022 Community Engagement materials may be viewed here

Financial Information

Cost Summary








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Spent: The amount paid on this project to-date.​

Approved: The amount that has been approved by the City Council to be spent for a specific contract or purpose on this project. In city accounting terms, this is spent + encumbered.

Budget: The total amount of money that the City expects to be spent to complete this project. This amount is only finalized once sufficient planning on the project has been completed.

Cost Details

Elevate Tuscaloosa Fund: City funds dedicated to Elevate Tuscaloosa which are allocated to this project.

Other City Funds: City funds from non-Elevate Tuscaloosa sources allocated to this project.

External Funding: Amounts from sources outside of the city, such as grants, or donations from citizens or private companies.

Overall Funding

Funding Summary


Elevate Tuscaloosa Fund:


Other City Funds:


External Funding:


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Funding Details
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