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The North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) Authority awarded the town of Leland a $500,000 grant to develop the town’s first major park on nearly 150 acres on the south side of U.S. 17 behind the Westgate commercial and residential area.
The project was selected as the state’s number one overall priority project for PARTF funds and received the maximum allocation allowed through the program.
The award will allow the town to develop Phase I of the Westgate Nature Park, which will include 0.3 miles of 10-foot-wide paved and elevated boardwalk trails for hiking and biking, an outdoor classroom overlooking the wetlands environment, two age-appropriate playgrounds, picnic area, multipurpose field, parking, landscaping, utilities and associated amenities.
Westgate developer Nathan Sanders donated land for the project, which includes wetlands on the north side of Jackey’s Creek. The town was able to use the value of the land as its match for the grant, resulting in no out-of-pocket costs for the match.
“Westgate Nature Park will provide an opportunity for all of Leland’s citizens to get out and enjoy and observe our unique coastal wetland habitat,” said Leland Mayor Walter Futch.
“This park is the first of its kind for Leland and will provide recreational and educational opportunities for our citizens for generations to come.”
This year, PARTF considered 85 grant applications from counties and municipalities across the state requesting $24.4 million in PARTF assistance for park development and land acquisition. PARTF had $6,657,442 to distribute in this grant cycle and was able to award 24 grants.
In the 18 months since Leland Town Council authorized the creation of a full-time parks and recreation department, the department has been recognized for the top PARTF project in the state for Westgate Nature Park and the top innovative recreation program for its Leland We Don’t Know program.