But in the future, town officials plan for at least part of the parcel of land to hold a walking trail, picnic shelters, rest rooms and a parking area. There are still hopes for other features, like a fenced-in playground, a sports field and a dog park, but for the time being at least, the scope of the park has been scaled back, due to economic strains, Wadesboro town manager John Witherspoon said Friday.
"We've had to change and cut down the size because the cost of paving has gone up so much," he explained. "We still have the entire 46 acres but we never intended to develop the whole thing. We were going to run the trail all the way around it, about a mile, but when we put together the costs, it turned out to be too much. Right now, it's at a half-mile, approximately."
According to a letter to the editor from former Wadesboro mayor, Don McRorie, Henry Little donated 46.3 acres of land on Feb. 14, 2005 for the creation of a town park. McRorie's letter says that the "deed plainly states that if this park is not 20 percent developed within five years, the town loses it."
McRorie also said that during his administration, a total of $331,425 had been donated for a park. Witherspoon said that amount was "about what we have right now and that includes a grant from the state."
He added that he's hoping the park can be built— at least the first phase, which includes just the walking trail, picnic shelters, rest rooms and parking— for less than $370,000. "The prices dropped from where they were six or seven months ago," Witherspoon said, "but something like this, it's still hard to estimate how long it will take."
Bids for that first phase are scheduled to be opened next month. The bids will be for the walking trail, site work and clearance.
The walking trail will be paved to make it more easily accessible for people in wheelchairs. "We could do gravel and do a mile or more," Witherspoon explained, "but we wanted it to be wheelchair accessible."
The town will also provide water and sewer for the park.
And as for those other features, like the dog park and playground, Witherspoon said, "That's what we hope to develop there but we probably won't be able to do all of them. The main thing is the walking trail."
A completion date for the park is still up in the air. "We're hoping that with all the contractors looking for work, we will get a lot of bids and that will help us get it done quickly," Witherspoon said.