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Local parks are fun but they also support the economy

April 22. The “Cornelius Way” is about being best in class or very near the top among peer group municipalities in any given area, like police, fire protection and parks. In the case of parks, we’re about average, according to Troy Fitzsimmons, director of Parks and Recreation in Cornelius.

Troy Fitzsimmons

Speaking at the Lake Norman Chamber’s “Focus Friday” event last week, he said the town has about 450 acres of parkland, or 14 acres per thousand but the goal is 750 acres, equal to about 18 acres per thousand.

Green brings in the green

“Parks and greenways are an indicator of a community’s quality of life—an important ingredient that most employers are looking for in our economic development efforts,” said Mayor Woody Washam.

Over the past decade there has been a growing sentiment for parks and passive outdoor space according to the two other Focus Friday participants, Leslie Willis, Davidson Parks and Recreation director, and Michael Jaycocks, Huntersville Parks and Recreation director.

Woody Washam | Photo by Jason Benavides

They also discussed businesses looking to relocate where there are ample parks and recreational amenities, which in the long-run helps support the tax base.

In all three towns there is a noticeable increase in the use of greenways and the desire for them to connect with county-owned greenways.


Our local parks and the town parks and recreation programs are significant, if not critical, to the quality of life that attracts corporations and businesses to the lake region, said Bill Russell, CEO of the chamber.

Bill Russell

“The partnership our towns have with Mecklenburg County, and the investment the town boards make in their own parks and recreation departments, make our communities a great place to live work and visit. In addition, our park facilities make Lake Norman a destination for amateur sports which is a significant source of revenue for our overall economic climate which benefits not just our citizens but the small business and corporations that reside here,” he said.

Reach out

Do you have a question or concern about local parks?

—Troy Fitzsimmons, Cornelius Parks and Recreation Director, 704-892-6031 ext 163 tfitzsimmons@cornelius.org

—Leslie Willis, Davidson Parks and Recreation Director 704-892-3349 lwillis@townofdavidson.org

—Michael Jaycocks, Huntersville Parks and Recreation Director, 704-766-2228 mjaycocks@huntersville.org