Construction at Valdese Lakeside Park is wrapping up. The public is invited to the Grand Opening on Tuesday, November 23 at 1:15 pm. The park address is 1149 Lake Rhodhiss Dr NE. Detailed Directions
Facilities scheduled to be completed include 4000 linear feet of greenway, parking lot, restrooms, and the wildlife viewing platform (at Meditation Point). Still in the planning stages are a dog park and fishing pier with kayak launch due to be completed in the Spring.
Before cutting the ribbon, remarks will be given by NC House Speaker Tim Moore, Town of Valdese Mayor Chip Black, Kellex Seating President Chris Rice and Valdese Parks and Recreation Director Doug Knight. Friends of the Valdese Rec President and Founder Beth Heile will serve as the emcee.
Light refreshments will be provided by Friends of the Valdese Rec (FVR). As a bonus, FVR will take interested attendees on guided hikes to the wildlife viewing platform (just a tenth of a mile), along the new greenway and on other trails.
The driving force in the formation of Friends of the Valdese Rec in 2015, was to help the Town of Valdese acquire 300 acres on Lake Rhodhiss for a passive park. That effort was realized in 2018 when the property closed with $1M in state grants and a combined $365K from the Rostan Family Foundation and Kellex Seating. Additional pledges from the community showed granting agencies the grassroots desire for the park.
Since closing on the property, Friends of the Valdese Rec volunteers logged over 3000 hours as they built, maintained and mapped trails on the property. To help people become more comfortable exploring the acreage, FVR hosts group hikes, picnics and crafts in the park. Another promotional tool has been the use of wildlife cameras at the park to show the variety of animals protected with the land being under a conservation easement. The efforts have paid off when during the early stages of the pandemic, 150 people per day visited the forested property.
Construction, like the land acquisition, is being funded by grants, $550K and community donations, $520K. NC State House Speaker Moore appropriated $51K of NCDOT funds to the park. Local granting agencies have also assisted in the park with the Community Foundation of Burke County providing funding for benches along the greenway and the Mull Foundation assisting with the dog park.
Heile said she expects the park will only grow in popularity with the new amenities.
“Valdese Lakeside Park is an incredible asset for our community. For the past three years, folks from across the county, and the region, have been enjoying the property as-is. However, with the addition of the parking lot, restrooms and ADA compliant greenway I am excited for those who are not as adventurous to start taking advantage of the park. Small town initiative and energy made this park possible for generations to come.”
Valdese Lakeside Park is located at 1149 Lake Rhodhiss Dr NE, Valdese. Attendees are asked to start gathering at 1:15, the speakers will start promptly at 1:30 and the ribbon will be cut at 2:00 pm. Visitors may want to plan to stay the entire afternoon to explore as many of the 300 acres as they can.