Harnett County Parks & Recreation has announced plans to develop a new park and community center at the Old Boone Trail School property on Old U.S. 421. The proposed park will incorporate the former school’s media center, gymnasium and ball fields, and will also include a picnic shelter, small outdoor basketball court and a walking trail. Additionally, the site will serve as a satellite location for the Harnett County Public Library.
Harnett County Parks & Recreation Director Carl Davis said the park will provide recreational opportunities in a portion of the county that is currently underserved. The park will also be unique in that it will include Parks & Recreation’s first indoor facility.
“All of our other sites are outdoor parks,” he said. “This gives us an area where we can run some indoor programming, which we haven’t been able to do before.”
The idea for the park came about after citizens in the Boone Trail community asked county officials to help them preserve portions of the abandoned school. Davis said there had been talk of locating a park on the site before, but it was the citizens who pushed for more programs in the area.
Harnett County Commissioners Chairman Gordon Springle said he was glad county staff were able to come up with a plan to preserve part of the former school site and to provide much needed services in the area.
“It’s really because of the support of the community that we were able to make this happen,” he said.
In addition to announcing the plan, Davis provided a timeline for the park’s development.
Staff will evaluate existing programs in summer 2017, and will develop a plan for the site that could include youth and adult sports programs, afterschool care and other community-driven programming in the fall.
Davis said the park complements the ongoing Parks & Recreation Master Plan, which seeks to determine what new parks and programs are needed in the county and where they should go. Once completed, the plan will serve as a roadmap for future development of parks and programming across the county.
“One of our goals in the master plan is to fill in gaps in the county where we don’t currently have facilities and this is one of those areas,” said Davis. “We don’t feel like this park is just for the Boone Trail community, but for everyone in the surrounding area.”
He’s also excited about the partnerships that will be involved with the new park.
“One of the best things about this is that we’ll be able to use the site not just for Parks & Recreation, but to meet other needs in the community,” he said. “We’re not only partnering with the library, but we’re going to partner with community organizations to hold events and other activities out there as well.”
Along with the Boone Trail site, Parks & Recreation will soon begin development of the first phase of the 190-acre Government Complex Park in Lillington, which will be located along the Cape Fear River off of Alexander Drive, behind Harnett County Public Utilities and Sandhills Farm Park. The park’s first phase, which will be completed in 2018, will include a walking trail with a boardwalk, canoe and kayak access, a river observation deck, ballfields, and multi-purpose fields. Future phases will include additional walking trails, a playground, splash pad, bocce court, basketball courts, sand volleyball, shelters and environmental education amenities.
For more information about Harnett County Parks & Recreation, go to www.harnett.org/parkrec/ or call (910) 893-7518.