you're reading...

Cornelius News

Town will front splash park in Smithville, expand community garden


By Jackson Sveen. Thanks to the hard work and generosity of several community groups and citizens, the east side of Cornelius will receive two major upgrades to amenities in the Smithville Community.

Cornelius Town Board met on Jan. 20, to discuss two potential projects to build a splash pad at the Smithville Park and to expand the Cornelius Community Garden. The board unanimously agreed to move forward in both projects. The final plans will come back to the board in the coming weeks for final approval.

Kiwanis Club making a splash at Smithville Park

After months of research, the Lake Norman Kiwanis club, partnering with the Town of Cornelius and the PARC Department will build a splash pad next to the baseball fields at Smithville Park.

The approximately 1,300 sq. ft. splash pad will be similar to the one at the center of Birkdale Village where children will be able to escape the summer heat while playing in various types of interactive water fountains.

“We are very excited, not just for Smithville but for Cornelius as a whole,” Lisa Mayhew, co-chair of the Smithville Coalition said. “This will give us a great outlet for some of us to use the splash pad in the summer, until you guys give us access to the lake.”

The town of Cornelius will pay for the initial construction and ongoing maintenance of the splash pad while the Lake Norman Kiwanis Club will be responsible to raising funds over the next three years to payback the costs associated with the build.

The estimated cost is $152,800 and cost an additional $15,100 annually to operate and maintain the splash pad.

John Aneralla, representing the Lake Norman Kiwanis Club, said the goal is to have the project completed in the summer of 2015, in celebration and recognition of the 100th anniversary of Kiwanis International.

“It’s our goal to put our name on something that is needed in the community,” Aneralla said. “We feel confident that we have the man power and are partnering with the right town.”

PARC Director Troy Fitzsimmons said the splash pad at Smithville Park is in essence is a pool with a recirculating treated water system. However, because of the zero water depth, the community will get an amenity that serves as a public pool in the summer heat, with little to no risk of drowning and thus eliminating the need for a lifeguard.

“We have no real water assets in our town, like a pool,” Commissioner Jim Duke said. “If you want to use the lake, you have to own a place. So this is an exciting thing for the community.”

Cornelius Community Garden Expansion

The Cornelius Community Garden, built just two years ago, is already in need of added space and will get it by this spring.

The roughly $6,000 project will add 48 new garden beds, including four planned for handicap accessibility. The new spots will be adjacent to the current Cornelius Community Garden off of West Catawba Avenue.

The Southenders Club, a senior retired men’s social club in Cornelius with approximately 130 members, will donate their time to complete the construction of the expansion.

“This is just really a wonderful opportunity if you live in Cornelius and are interested in gardening,” Commissioner Bruce Trimbur said. “We didn’t have any vacancies in the first phase, so by adding these I think it will add even more of a sense of community.”

The goal is to have the community garden expansion completed by mid-April 2015, in time for the spring growing season.