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Opportunities for Recreation in York County
Opportunities to get outside in York County are plentiful, and there are plenty more coming. York County Council got an update Monday night on its expansive and growing parks program. Four major parks have active capital improvements ongoing. More should follow at other county park facilities. Council chairwoman Christi Cox said there’s a reason why ongoing capital work focuses on projects like trails, camping and access to water. “The niche of the county seems to be passive recreation,” Cox said. “How do we provide the passive recreation that’s a complement to the municipalities that do the organized sports?”
New upgrades and new parks also give communities a chance to get together. Like, Councilman Tom Audette said, possible 5K fundraisers at the coming Catawba Bend Preserve. “It’s also raising the opportunity for events,” Audette said.
Allison Creek Park
Allison Creek Park is a 160-acre property in its final stages of construction. The Lake Wylie property with a 2499 Viesta Road address in York is leased to the county from Duke Energy as part of that company’s most recent federal license application to operate power generation sites along the Catawba River. “I know everybody is wondering when Allison Creek Park is going to open,” said Katherine Jones, county parks director. “All I can say is ‘soon.’” The park will have four boat ramps, a canoe or kayak launch, four miles of trail and a playground. It will have 33 camp sites including 16 primitive tent sites, two bathhouses and two shelters guests can rent. “It is going to be an amazing park, and we just want to make sure that everything is done — we’ve dotted our ‘I’s, crossed our ‘T’s — and it is a safe and quality park prior to us opening,” Jones said.
Catawba Bend Preserve
Catawba Bend Preserve is a 1,900-acre park that will feature a variety of trails and natural elements along the western banks of the Catawba River near Rock Hill. Construction is complete on four miles of trail. There’s an active construction bid for another mile of trail on what will be a five-mile waterfront path along the Catawba River. Construction should start early next year on the loop road to serve the park. Work on a gatehouse and trail head restroom should start next spring. Dam repairs for three ponds on site should be done by fall next year.
Ebenezer Park recently underwent wildly popular renovations, and the park is now set for a second wave of upgrades. The Rock Hill park on Lake Wylie will close in mid-September. Bathrooms will be rebuilt. A new concessions area and laundry facility will be added. Water and sewer lines will be replaced and gravel sites converted to concrete in camping areas. Campground roads will transition from gravel to asphalt. The entrance will widen to two incoming lanes and a second gatehouse will be added. The park will get 12 new RV sites and five new tent camp sites. The changes come after Ebenezer completed a prior phase of upgrades, the most visible change in the 35-year history of the park, two years ago. A $4.6 million renovation at the 26-acre park brought an enhanced swim beach, semicircle fishing or picnic pier, and other upgrades. Those changes also brought more people. Residents in the area have come to the county with concerns about traffic. A late June community meeting for county staff to detail coming renovations brought neighbors with concerns about major traffic and capacity issues that Jones said made the park unsafe. “We had just outrageous numbers,” Jones said. Ebenezer has had a significant increase in use since the upgrades two years ago, but particularly in peak summer months. From June 1 to July 9, the park sold more than 20,000 day passes and almost 250 season or annual passes. Now and at least through the end of summer, the park will limit entrance to the park to avoid overcrowding. “Once our park reaches capacity, we’re just not allowing any new guests to come in for the day,” Jones said.
Field Day Park
Several improvements are budgeted for the coming year at Field Day Park in Lake Wylie. They include six new pickleball courts, safety netting along soccer fields, a shade structure over the main playground, and a new maintenance building. The construction bid process closes in August so details could come back to council in the next month or so.
In conclusion, York County is investing in its parks and recreation facilities to provide passive recreation opportunities for its residents. With ongoing projects like Allison Creek Park, Catawba Bend Preserve, Ebenezer Park, and Field Day Park, the county is expanding its offerings for outdoor activities. These projects will not only enhance the natural beauty of the area but also provide opportunities for events and fundraisers. Whether it’s boating, hiking, camping, or playing sports, there will be something for everyone to enjoy in York County’s parks. So, get outside and make the most of these recreation opportunities!