LELAND — In the ever-growing Town of Leland, the local government is attempting to preserve acres of green space as development spurs around them.
On Thursday, town council took action on two items related to that goal: accepting a 135-acre donation from a developer and approving the budget for a future disc golf course.
“It is really important that we pay attention to these opportunities to acquire green space for preservation when we can,” assistant town manager Niel Brooks said on a call earlier this week. “This is a couple of good opportunities to get new green space and new park land for the citizens of Leland.”
The town recently finalized the closings of two land acquisitions, totaling approximately 14 acres for $45,000 each. It is allocating another $160,000 toward the cost of preparing the land and installing a new disc golf course, called Trade Street Park.
The funds will cover a gravel access road and parking lot as well as some minor clearing for the course. The town will need to extend Trade Street Drive and is approaching Duke Energy and H2GO about possible encroachments into their nearby properties.
Disc golf is highlighted as a desired amenity in Leland’s 2018-adopted Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan. Currently, the town maintains a nine-hole course at Founders Park, but that needs to be relocated as the town embarks on significant renovations to the 8-acre park in the coming year. The estimated $6.8-million improvements project includes a new amphitheater and splash pad.
“It’s pretty much just a major overhaul of the park,” Brooks said.
The N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, also known as PARTF, granted the town $489,000 for the Founders Park renovations. Designs are in the works, and bids for work will likely go out in the spring.
The disc golf course at Founders Park, installed at the request of the local enthusiasts of the sport in 2018, was always intended to be temporary. The proposed course off Trade Street, if all goes according to plan, will be permanent and double in size with 18 holes.
A free 135 acres
Also Tuesday, council passed a resolution officially accepting a land donation from the developer of SeaBrooke.
Situated in the back of the community, the land spans 135.38 acres, borders the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point rail yard and is likely majority wetlands, Brooks said.
“Getting this land kind of kills two birds with one stone,” Brooks said. “One, it gives us a little bit of a buffer from the rail yard, and then it also is a good area for just open space.”
The assistant town manager said the town has a relationship with the developer, who was aware of the town’s interest in acquiring green space. They offered to transfer the unbuildable land at no charge.
Leland’s 2045 Comprehensive Plan, the town’s strategy for the future adopted in November, includes intentions to retain wetlands and open spaces while balancing the projected population growth.
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