The first phase of the Royal Lane Park project is underway, and officials say progress is being made and a completion date is just a few weeks away.
Phase 1A of the project includes a new playground, and area of swings, a tot lot, a paved walking trail, a 400 meter walking and running track around the multipurpose field, an expansion of the multipurpose field with updated irrigation, a new parking lot between the pool and multipurpose field, a new park sign, and an entrance to the new parking log off Ellen Street.
The project, which is part of PARTF grant awarded to the City of Clinton, will be completed in four phases, with completion of the first part of phase one scheduled for the end of August.
In February, officials began taking down playground equipment on Ellen Street, and work officially began on the project in the beginning of July.
According to Jonathan Allen, recreation department director, the purpose of making renovations to Royal Lane is to provide better connectivity and flow through the park and make the park more enjoyable for the patrons.
“Royal Lane Park has been a huge asset to Clinton and Sampson County by providing a place for patrons to go to play, run, walk, and stay active,” Allen said. “We have hosted local and state baseball, softball and soccer tournaments at the park. In addition, the park gives people a chance to socialize and interact with others.”
Throughout the renovation project, Allen assured recreation activities are still taking place, and other areas of the park remain open. Park visitors should be reminded that the multipurpose field will remain closed until fall 2018 and despite being paved, the walking track around the multipurpose field will remain closed until further notice.
“We apologize for any inconvenience, but if everyone will be patient, the completed phase 1A project will be well worth the wait,” Allen said. “While there will be limited practice space for our fall sports, our fall sports will continue like normal.”
To date, some work has been completed on the multipurpose field, including the grading and work on storm drains and movement of lights. Workers have been busy paving the 1/4 mile walking trail and the track around the multipurpose field. The new parking lot between the pool and the field is almost completed, as well as the new entrance off Ellen Street.
Currently, the playground on Ellen Street, by the pool, is closed. All other playgrounds at the park, off Pierce Street and by the office, are open, as well as the playgrounds at the Sampson Center Park on Barden Street, Newkirk Park on Ferrell Street, and Fisher Drive Park on Fisher Drive.
City officials pursued the grant with plans to make Royal Lane Park a better overall experience for the residents of Clinton and Sampson County. Additionally, the renovations and additions will allow for more opportunities for the community.
There are four scheduled phases for the project that will be broken down as needed based on financial capabilities. The plan calls for a reorganization and addition of multipurpose fields, the reorganization of baseball and softball fields into a four-wagon-wheel design, reorientation of two of the current fields, additional parking, sidewalks and trails throughout to provide better flow around the park, an addition to the Bellamy Center that will house the main office and additional activity rooms, and an additional gym.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.