2022 in review—Huntsville’s biggest headliners of the year

orion
What a year. (Sarah Gronberg / Hville Blast)

There’s always something big going on in the Rocket City, and 2022 was no exception.

As we look forward to the future of our remarkable city in a new year, let’s take a moment to see what some of our biggest accomplishments were over the past 12 months

1. Huntsville named the “Best Place to Live in the U.S.”

BeeZr downtown
Downtown Huntsville is at the center of it all. (Nathan Watson / The Bama Buzz)

After hovering in the lower ranks in years past, Huntsville dethroned Colorado Springs as the #1 Best Place to Live in the U.S., according to the U.S. News & World Report.

If you’ve been out and about in Huntsville this year, you’ve most likely heard this ranking resounding through the city. We’re pretty proud of it here in the Rocket City.

2. The Orion hosted its inaugural season

august events orion
Artist like Chris Stapleton rocked Huntsville’s newest stage. (Orion Amphitheater / Facebook)

Orion concerts were a topic of conversation all over Huntsville. Excited Huntsvillians asked each other, “Did you get tickets to the Stevie Nicks concert?”; “Have you been to the Orion yet?”; and, “Really? I was at that one too!”

The Orion opened up with a bang as the much-anticipated First Waltz brought in a dozen performances over a three-day period.

Since then, the Orion has hosted knockout shows with artists such as Stevie Nicks and the Dave Matthews Band, received numerous awards and recognitions, hosted educational events and transformed into a Winter Wonderland.

The Orion has brought Huntsville lots of fun this year, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s lineup.

3. Sports took center stage

toyota field november events
The Trash Pandas were better than ever this year. (Rocket City Trash Pandas / Facebook)

It was a big year for the Huntsville sports scene.

In July, Mayor Tommy Battle announced that professional soccer was coming to Huntsville. A handful of months later, he revealed the name and logo of the team—the Huntsville City Football Club. Since then, they’ve signed their first player, and we can’t wait to cheer on Isaiah Johnston and the rest of the team at Joe Davis Stadium.

On the baseball diamond, the Trash Pandas had a historic season. They made several impressive accomplishments on the field, including making it to the Southern League playoffs—and Trash Panda fans showed up. In fact, they finished the 2022 season with the highest attendance in the league.

And, of course, Huntsville Havoc Hockey is always making headlines. At the start of this season, head coach Glenn Detulleo announced that he was stepping down at the end of the current season, after over 10 years in the role and almost 300 wins. He’ll still be around in the future as Executive General Manager, while assistant coach Stefan Stuart steps up to the head coach position.

Other sports also got some serious attention. Huntsville’s John Hunt Park hosted several cross country competitions, generating major economic impact and bringing in athletes from all over the Southeast. We also heard the news that Ditto Landing is set to be the new home of Kayak Bass Fishing, hosting national championships in years to come.

4. Huntsville announced and broke ground on some impressive developments

vista at councill square groundbreaking
The groundbreaking for Vista at Councill Square was one of many groundbreakings this year. (Emily Phillips / Hville Blast)

If you’ve driven around nearly any part of Huntsville this year, you’ve see that there are some pretty big projects underway.

Several new mixed-use developments started making progress, including Upland Park and Arcadia in Research Park, Stadium Commons near Joe Davis Stadium (which is also undergoing renovations), Front Row, CityCentre and Vista at Councill Square in Downtown Huntsville and Anthem House in MidCity. There are also lots of apartments going up, if you haven’t noticed.

New entertainment and recreation options started taking shape. We heard all about the plans for John Hunt Park—including renovations to Kids’ Space, a new skatepark and a new recreation center.

Out in Madison, Clift Farm and Town Madison continued to make progress this year.

Educational facilities also got a boost. Huntsville City Schools announced plans for a new central office and tech education center, Alabama A&M opened a new event center and welcome center and UAH started planning a new engineering building.

Huntsville City facilities also took some big steps forward this year on the new Huntsville Transit station, the new municipal complex (including the new City Hall) and the new Federal Courthouse. Oh, and Huntsville also secured a grant for a huge skybridge.

And if that wasn’t enough, Meta’s Huntsville data center announced that they’re expanding with a huge investment in the Rocket City, and Space Command HQ took another step closer to Huntsville.

5. Huntsville played a huge role in the Artemis launch

artemis i
Where did you watch from? (NASA / Bill Ingalls)

Artemis I was another big talking point in Huntsville this year—it’s only fitting, right? We’ve been excitedly following along with Artemis’ saga this year, from the prelaunch tests earlier this year to the launch last month.

And, as is fitting for the Rocket City, Huntsville played a major role in this historic event.

Cheers to a big year, Huntsville.

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Sarah Gronberg
Sarah Gronberg
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