The Town of McAdenville and Pharr, together with the Catawba Lands Conservancy, are pleased to announce the creation of a riverfront park and trail network along the South Fork River and downtown McAdenville. The park will provide new river access, improve town walkability and safety, and create recreational amenities for the region. Building on McAdenville’s rich history with the river, the park is the result of a public/private partnership formed to share McAdenville’s unique village community and natural resources. This collaborative effort earned the Town of McAdenville a matching $350,000 grant for the park from the State of North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority (“PARTF”). With planning already underway, park construction will be completed in two phases, with Phase 1 scheduled to open to the public in Fall 2016.
The South Fork River—which once powered the mills in McAdenville—has long been a source of innovation, pride and enjoyment for locals. It runs just 300 feet from McAdenville’s charming, historic downtown, making the village one of the most picturesque in the region. Designed to help locals connect to the river in meaningful ways once again, the new riverfront park will include a network of more than two miles of trails, including paved trails for walking and natural surface for hiking and mountain biking, fitness trail stations, a bog walk along the creek and a canoe/kayak launch near the JM Carstarphen Bridge. Slated to open in Fall 2016, Phase 1 of park construction will include the bog walk, overlook, and all natural surface trails west of Wesleyan and along the river. Phase 2, planned for the end of 2017, will complete the park with a paved riverside trail and the canoe/kayak launch.
The paved trails will also link McAdenville’s historic commercial district, the new residential community and a natural creek area to each other—a feature that will increase safety and community interactions. Residents and visitors will enjoy improved walking access to the elementary school and downtown district—as well as beautiful paved pathways for walking, running and biking. Increased walkability is intended to celebrate and revive the genuine, small-town connections that have defined McAdenville since its early days as a hardworking mill village.
Initial Park Development
The Town of McAdenville, Pharr and the Catawba Lands Conservancy formed a community consortium to initiate, develop and fund the creation of the park—which they envision as not only an asset for the community, but also a catalyst for future growth and outdoor recreational opportunities. Pharr, through its real estate development company, Belmont Land and Investment Company, will donate more than 12 acres of land to the town, provide easements for additional property and funding for the park, and assist the town with park design and construction oversight. This pledge follows a long history of Pharr’s commitment to investing in true community—and also comes in the midst of Belmont Land and Investment’s work to revitalize McAdenville’s historic downtown and attract a wide range of residents. The revitalizations, which will enhance the appearance of downtown McAdenville’s commercial district to attract more retail, are scheduled to be completed early this spring.
“We are very excited about this great amenity for McAdenville, Gaston County and the Charlotte region. Our company and my family have deep ties to McAdenville, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the town and the Catawba Lands Conservancy to provide this exciting new asset,” says Bill Carstarphen, President and CEO of Pharr Yarns and President of Belmont Land and Investment. “McAdenville is a very special place, not just at Christmas, but year-round. This park will give outdoor enthusiasts from around the region an opportunity to discover that for themselves as they enjoy our unique natural beauty in a historic setting.”
Vision for McAdenville’s Future
With Spencer Mountain to the town’s north, Lake Wylie to the south and the South Fork River connecting the two right through the heart of McAdenville, the town has infinite recreational and residential potential. “The river has always been a source of opportunity for McAdenville. It’s the reason our town was first founded in 1881, and today, it’s a unique feature that can bring people all over the area together,” says McAdenville representative, Greg Richardson.
Community leaders believe that McAdenville has the natural resources and small town charm to become a new North Carolina hub for outdoor pursuits like hiking, kayaking and mountain biking. The park will continue to grow over the years, with the vision of connecting its trails to the Carolina Thread Trail, a network of greenways and blueways that links 15 counties in North and South Carolina. When complete, the park trails will connect seamlessly with an already existing two-mile stretch of the Carolina Thread Trail that runs through McAdenville.
Early Community Reactions
“My family is thrilled about the new park. We moved to McAdenville because we fell in love with the sense of real community here, and this park will only add to that. I’m excited that my children will have a place where they can have healthy play, like biking from one end of town to the other, without getting on any main roads,” says Ashley Black, a local McAdenville resident and mother of three.
“This project will unlock the value of McAdenville’s natural surroundings, create new outdoor recreational opportunities, improve connectivity between residential and non-residential areas and increase momentum for McAdenville’s resurgence,” adds Greg Richardson, a McAdenville council member who has been instrumental to the grant application and park planning process.
“Our work is to preserve the beauty of the Carolinas and connect lives to nature. This riverfront park in McAdenville will give residents and others better ways to access the South Fork River environment while helping to protect the land for future generations,” says Tom Okel, Executive Director of the Catawba Lands Conservancy.
More detailed renderings of the park project will be released in the coming months.
About the Town of McAdenville
Founded in 1881, McAdenville is located in the Southern Piedmont region of North Carolina. McAdenville is committed to being a town that cherishes its past while embracing its future with dignity, respect and innovation. With a rich history in textile manufacturing, a charming community atmosphere and an abundance of natural resources, McAdenville has been a wonderful place to call home for generations. McAdenville is dedicated to its residents and businesses, always striving to make it the ideal place to live, work, and enjoy.
Pharr, a family-owned enterprise headquartered in McAdenville, N.C. since 1939, began as a sales yarn manufacturing company and has expanded into one of North America’s leading manufacturers of carpet yarns (Pharr Yarns), high performance yarns (Pharr Yarns HP) and floor covering products (Phenix Flooring) serving customers worldwide. Pharr also operates a diversified real estate company (Belmont Land and Investment) that redevelops commercial and residential communities and a hotel management services company (Strand Hospitality Services) with high-quality hotel properties throughout the eastern U.S.
About Catawba Lands Conservancy
Catawba Lands Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation organization that permanently preserves nearly 15,000 acres of wetlands, forests, prairies and farmlands in the Southern Piedmont region of North Carolina. It is dedicated to saving land and connecting lives to nature. One of 24 land trusts in North Carolina, CLC serves Catawba, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg and Union counties. CLC is committed to improving the quality of life in the communities it serves by protecting water, wildlife habitats, farmland and green spaces for public benefit. CLC is also the lead agency for the Carolina Thread Trail, a regional trail initiative focused on linking more than two million citizens in 15 counties in North and South Carolina.