LEXINGTON- Director Thomas Marshburn has been very busy at the Davidson County Parks & Recreation Department. In addition to overseeing the usual business of the department, he has also put together two Parks and Recreation bonds for Davidson County voters to consider this fall. The two bond referendums that the citizens of Davidson County are being asked to consider include monies to bring Davidson County Parks & Recreation Department’s master plan to fruition.
The first bond is a parks bond which includes 7.9 million dollars for capital improvements at existing parks and an additional 3 million dollars for building a recreation center at Hughes Park. The capital improvements funds will also be used to upgrade lighting and continue to add playgrounds and splash pads similar to those at Bombay and Southmont Parks. Ballpark lighting will be upgraded at Southmont, Bombay, and Linwood Parks.
At Southmont Park, a playground and parking area will be added and the picnic shelter will be upgraded along with placing additional picnic tables. A retaining wall will also be built, making it ADA accessible. At Linwood Park, a playground will be added. There are plans to add a Miracle Playground, possibly at the West End Campus, which will be 100% ADA with a rubber surface underneath it, similar to what is currently at Stoner Thomas School. The current 9-hole disc golf course at Hughes Park will expand to 18 holes. Marshburn shared that a BMX Bike Track will also be built around the existing 1 ½ mile trail at Hughes Park.
“Our Special Olympics softball training is being done at Hughes Park,” said Marshburn. “So, funds will be used to pave some parking area, which will make the facility more handicap friendly. A much needed centrally located 58,0000 square foot recreation center will be built, including four gymnasiums under one roof that can be used for basketball, volleyball, and pickleball. The space may also be used as a large gathering hall. It will have a refreshment bar at the front of the center along with a full-size concession stand, and restrooms. The refreshment bar will serve those watching games who just want to purchase a drink and avoid longer lines at the concession stand. This center will be built on the adjacent Welborn property. Other planned additions at Hughes Park include a splash pad, archery field, grass and sand volleyball courts, multipurpose fields, and additional restroom facilities.”
Marshburn explained that another county project will include phases two and three of the Wil-Cox Bridge development. This will include infrastructure site improvements such as electrical, water, and security measures; additional parking; concession and restroom facilities; ADA accessible riverside access and boardwalk; lighting; connector trails; seating and shade structures for river viewing; and the installation of an interpretive kiosk telling the story of the Wil-Cox Bridge, Yadkin River, and the Trading Ford.
The second bond under consideration provides 40 million dollars to build a sports complex. Mashburn says the sports complex will have several professional-level tournament-playing fields, which could include artificial turf, a professional archery range to hold Olympic-type tournaments, and a BMX bike track to host competitions.
The Hughes Park facilities would be used for local and state-level competitions while the sports complex would house southeastern regional and national competitions,” said Marshburn. “The complex could serve as a home for collegiate league teams or independent minor league teams.”
The annual economic impact in tourism for Davidson County could be well in the millions of dollars with the realization of a sports complex,” said Marshburn. “We would be competing for national events, which generate big bucks, not only for restaurants and hotels but for our entire tourism industry.”
When asked, Marshburn offered up his perspective on Davidson County facilities and development compared to surrounding counties.
“Davie County is already moving in the direction we want to go,” said Marshburn. “We are a little behind Rowan County; but if the voters approve the 10.9-million-dollar bond, it will put us ahead of Randolph County.”
Marshburn emphasized that while Davidson County wants to attract business, he believes having first-class parks, recreation facilities and programs will make Davidson County more attractive to our future generations as well as those in corporate America looking to relocate to our region.
“We want our best and brightest kids to come back home after college to raise their families,” said Mashburn.