Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Expansions and improvements expected at county parks in New Year

Design will get underway for numerous parks projects next year, and other improvements are in line for construction. (Port City Daily/File)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The $458 million county budget adopted in June for the 2021-2022 fiscal year allocated $4.3 million to improve the parks across New Hanover. 

With that injection, the parks and gardens department has a wide slate of projects it plans to tackle in the upcoming year. Expansions and new trails are on the horizon, as is an entirely brand new park. 

Hanover Pines Nature Park, on Carolina Beach Road, has been years in the making. The 42.5-acre parcel will be used as a “passive park,” with an emphasis on retaining the natural features of the site. Design of the park was completed in November.

READ MORE: 30 years in the making, a park is getting built near Monkey Junction

Northern Regional Park in Castle Hayne is set to expand; as part of the park’s final phase, additions are expected to include more rectangular fields, restrooms and other infrastructure. Design for the expansion is planned for this fiscal year. 

Construction for a new walking trail in Northern Regional Park will also get started in the coming months. Given the road network that spans the park, the inclusion of a walking trail would give walkers a pathway of their own. 

Multiple off-road paved trails will be designed next year. One future trail on N. College Road will extend from Gordon Road to Northchase Parkway West. The stretch of S. College Road between 17th Street and the Monkey Junction area is also expected to get a multi-use trail, with design scheduled for this fiscal year. 

Design and construction is also forthcoming for a multi-use trail that will connect Ogden Park to the Military Cutoff Extension, Market Street and Middle Sound Loop trails.

Another design project in the works is an addition of 87 acres into Smith Creek Park. “This additional park space is expected to be passive in nature and may include elements such as a multi-use trail, interpretive signage, play area, display garden and outdoor classroom,” according to the parks and gardens website. 

In terms of refurbishments, the Long Leaf Park tennis courts are going to be patched up and resurfaced with multiple layers of paint. New LED lights will replace the existing incandescent lighting system. 

Long Leaf Park will also benefit from capital improvements like a new basketball court. A fitness course styled in the vein of “American Ninja Warrior” opened in late December. The existing basketball court is going to be converted to a kid’s court with 8-foot rims. And Veterans Park will get a new playground — following the closure of its previous 20-year-old fixture due to wear and tear. 

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