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New park planned for Town Creek Park site

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By Brian Slattery

Brunswick County is getting a brand new park.

It just happens to sit where Town Creek Park used to be.

Demolition began Sept. 4 on the yearlong $5.3 million project that’s more metamorphosis than renovation.

Parks and Recreation Director Jim Pryor anticipates renovations will begin in mid-October.

Pryor said the park was pieced together over the past 30 years, so he didn’t feel the land was used well. But despite the way it was designed, it is popular — the third most used park in the county — so it was due for an upgrade.

To get the best park $5 million can buy, the improvements were planned with residents’ input.

“Recreation needs and wants change. It’s like old century versus new century,” Pryor said. “It needed a full renovation since it’s our most visible park, sitting on (U.S.) Highway 17.”

When the park reopens, it will be bigger.

The Parks and Recreation department and Town Creek Elementary School worked out an agreement to use 10 acres to increase the size of the park to 55 acres while adding a path that connects the school and park.

More room allowed for including a five-field baseball wheel with a two-story press box/concession stand and restroom.

The newest addition will be a 2.5-mile paved trail for walking, running and biking.

“It was highly requested,” Pryor said.

Fitness stations will be added along the trail.

The park will also include two soccer/football fields, basketball and tennis courts and a rebuilt community building.

Pryor said some of the facilities will be enhanced rather than demolished during renovation, and some of the newer amenities will be retained.

New playground equipment and the newest lighting will remain. The tennis courts will stay in the same place but will be resurfaced.

Bocce and shuffleboard courts will remain, but they will be relocated.

The renovation will also add a dog park, the second park in the county to add one after Shallotte Park, which is the busiest park in the county.

Pryor said the renovation will also bring the park into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Most of the parks were built in the early 1980s, when there were no ADA guidelines,” he said. “This will be accessible for the handicapped and the elderly.”

A nature trail will also be included near a pavilion/picnic shelter, but individual picnic tables will also be added.

While the existing playground will remain, Pryor said an adventure playground being added won’t feature typical equipment butwill include a ropes course or rock climbing.

The community building will be available for rent or for use for special occasions, but Pryor said other than operations staff space, the renovated building will not be a full-fledged recreation center.

The completion date Pryor has circled is Sept. 14, 2014, if the renovations can be completed while avoiding too many delays.

 

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.