Beaty Park Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting
Saturday morning hundreds of neighbors of all ages braved the summertime heat to gather at the newest park in the Town of Davidson – Beaty Park. If you want to watch the ceremony, just click the link for a video.
The park was either several years in the making or several decades, depending on how you look at it. Mayor Rusty Knox opened the ceremony by reminding the crowd that his father, Mayor Russell Knox, signed the agreement with the Clontz family to acquire the property in 1985. However, the land remained essentially untouched for roughly three decades.
Mayor Knox also introduced Commissioners Tracy Madison Brandon, Jane Campbell, Ryan Fay, Autumn Rierson Michael, and former Commissioner Matthew Fort who were on hand for the event.
The Town began planning for the park in earnest in 2018. The Beaty Park Task Force was formed and began the methodical, detailed effort needed for designing and developing it. The effort was divided into phases. Town funds for the park came in the 2017 general obligation bonds approved by town residents. The task force’s concept plan was approved in 2019. An important element of the process included placing a conservation easement on the property in coordination with Davidson Lands Conservancy.
COVID affected everything in the planning process in town, including the timeline at Beaty Park. The groundbreaking ceremony for the park was delayed until December 2021.
The project received an additional financial boost with the awarding of a state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund or PARTF grant.
Following his introductory comments, Mayor Knox invited State Senator Natasha Marcus to make remarks. Senator Marcus noted the role the State played in Beaty Park, highlighting the PARTF grant. According to Senator Marcus, Beaty Park was one of 14 parks earning grants across the state and the only park in Mecklenburg County.
The next speaker was Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Willis. Willis detailed the countless partners who joined in the effort to create Beaty Park: the Beaty Park Task Force, Davidson Lands Conservancy, Dodd Architects, Citizen Design, JD Goodrum, and the Davidson Garden Club. She also noted the important role of Recreational Resources Services, the agency that helped the Town seek additional grant funding for the project and implement the grant funding when it was received.
Representatives from those organizations included: Dan Dodd (Dodd Architects), Brian Conroy (Citizen Design), Jamie Yoxtheimer (JD Goodrum, Contractor), Charlynne Smith and Alex Godette (Recreational Resources Services), Jeff Michael (Deputy Secretary, N.C. Department Natural and Cultural Resources), and Liz Harris (Davidson Garden Club).
Willis made particular note of Davidson Garden Club members who not only donated their time and talents, but also donated funds for the raised planting beds. All the plants are native species and there are QR codes placed in the boxes that provide a link to the planting diagram for the park and detailed plant information including: common name, botanical name, growth requirements, typical size, and additional comments.
Willis also took time to highlight the efforts of all the members of the Parks and Recreation team: Gina Carman, FranLisa Krupa, Charlene Minor, and other members of the Town Staff team.
Before handing the microphone to Assistant Town Manager Austin Nantz, Willis asked Alex Godette from Recreational Resources Services to say a few words. Godette, in turn, commended Willis and the Town for being a great partner in the project. He congratulated the Town of Davidson and everyone who played a role in making the park a reality. He also presented a sign that recognizes the PARTF grant.
Austin Nantz wrapped up the formal remarks and invited all the current and former elected officials to join in the ribbon cutting. And with that, the giant red ribbon was stretched out in front of one of one of the picnic shelters and Mayor Knox wielded the large scissors to cut it.
Even as the key guests were making remarks and the ribbon was being cut, a number of families were happily preoccupied with kids playing on the play structure. The structure includes ladders, rope bridges, a fort, and slides.
The “icing on the cake” of Saturday’s event was Whit’s Frozen Custard – a cool treat on a hot summer’s day.
Current amenities in the park include the amazing kids play area, several picnic shelters, a walking trail, raised planting beds, and restroom facilities.
The next effort will be coordinated with the county to rebuild the dam on the property. In doing so, the pond will be cleaned with the ultimate intent to stock it and make it available for fishing. The project is on the fiscal year 2024 project list, which begins in July. Additionally, a pollinator garden will be planted by the Davidson Garden Club this fall.
It’s also important to note that the park is ADA accessible. One attendee at the ribbon cutting was in a wheelchair and commended the ease of access and mobility around the park.
Oh, and if you happen to notice the carved wooden sculpture of the heron near the raised planting beds and wondered if there is a story behind it, you would be correct. In the fall of 2019, a chainsaw artist from Wild Wood Chainsaw Art in Rock Hill was on hand for the “Beaty Park Work Day.” He took a log from on site and began working on a piece of art – amazing everyone with his ability to carve a piece of art with a chainsaw.
Go see Beaty Park. We believe that you won’t regret it. As a reminder, if you take your dog with you to Beaty Park, you must keep it on a leash.
Click this link for our full album of photos and videos from Saturday’s ceremony.