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Cornelius News

Splash park a la Birkdale eyed for Smithville Park

Dec. 2 The Lake Norman Kiwanis Club is expected to propose a water feature—a splash pad comparable to the one in the center of Birkdale Village—for Smithville Park at an upcoming Cornelius Town Board meeting.


The Smithville Park Splash Pad, which would include the Lake Norman Kiwanis in its name, could be completed in July or August of 2015, according to John Aneralla, a member of Kiwanis and former president of the organization.

It’s important because the park is underutilized by the nearby Smithville community, a historic African-American enclave just east of I-77 along Catawba Avenue.

“The Splash Pad will provide parents and children with access to fun water play during the summer vacation season since we still have no access for public use of Lake Norman and no public pools,” said Lisa Mayhew, co-chairman of the Smithville Community Coalition.

Next year is the 100th anniversary of the international service organization. Aneralla said Kiwanis is looking for the town to put up the money for the splash pad to get the roughly $150,000 project under way quickly. The Kiwanis would be responsible for recruiting donor. The project will offer permanent recognition for them.

The park is a town-wide amenity in the middle of a historic African-American community just east of I-77.

Mayhew said the SCC is “100 percent committed” to help raise funds for this project over the next three years as well.

She said the park right now is “always occupied with some type of sporting activities that the majority of” people in Smithfield “can not afford to have their children participate.”

“Now with the proposed Splash Pad we feel this will help give the residents that are in walking distance of the park more reason to want to visit the park. The Splash Pad will help bring more diversity to the park which is very much needed,” Mayhew said.

Town Commissioner Jim Duke said the Kiwanis project is long overdue.  “The project…will bring a much needed recreational attraction to the Smithville Park. This effort…will make for more attractive places for families to enjoy the summer months,” he said.

He credited Aneralla’s leadership in moving the project forward.

Kiwanis Immediate Past President Arlene Arciero said the splash park will be a “beautiful place for all Lake Norman residents to gather and get to know each other and we are very excited about partnering with the town of Cornelius on this venture.”