Town of Harrisburg purchases 40.8 acres for park expansion

May 11. Harrisburg Town Council has approved the purchase of 40.8 acres of property adjacent to Harrisburg Park. The parcel, located southwest of the current park boundary, will double the size of the park and improve park access from N. C. 49.

In accordance with the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, uses under consideration include multipurpose sports fields, splash pad and expanded playground facilities with multigenerational features and picnic shelters. Other amenities under consideration include increased parking capacity, Parks and Recreation office and indoor programming space, and dedicated areas for public art. Natural areas and an expanded trail system bordering Back Creek are planned as part of the town’s commitment to balancing preservation of green space and tree canopy with the need for expanded youth sports facilities.

The town negotiated a purchase price of $425,000 on the bank-owned parcel.

“We are partially funding this purchase with funds from last year’s $250,000 sale of 6.7 acres east of Harrisburg Park,” said Mayor Steve Sciascia. “Selling that property for over $37,000 per acre and acquiring this tract for just over $10,000 per acre allows us to maximize the town’s investment. We anticipate completing the purchase without accruing any additional debt. We’re excited to enhance amenities and quality of life for our community while continuing to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

The land parcel straddles the railroad track with eight acres located to the south of the Charlotte-to-Raleigh rail line. Initial plans include a pedestrian bridge with areas designated for train-watching. The land parcel also includes one of the sites identified by NCDOT Rail Division as a potential location for a train station.

Other park amenities will be considered with rail traffic and noise in mind.

“Although we would like to consider an amphitheater on this site, we feel there are other locations in Harrisburg better suited to that use,” said Parks and Recreation Director Eric Smallwood. “A permanent performance venue requires a location with as much ambient noise control as possible.”

The town is beginning site survey work, a wetlands study and other due diligence during the 60-day feasibility period ending June 30. The project timeline includes development of a park master plan in Fiscal Year 2017 with development in Fiscal Year 2018.


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