City officials are celebrating the completion and official re-opening of Phase 1A of Royal Lane Park — a project that began early 2017.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning, Clinton City Parks and Recreation Department director Jonathan Allen said completion of the first phase of the project has been a “long time coming”.
Phase 1A of the project includes the new playground, an 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 lot off Ellen Street.
“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.”
Dwayne Patterson, director of State Parks and Recreation, spoke during Thursday’s celebration, calling the park renovations a place for “memories to be made.”
“I look at the councilman and his children, who will have memories of this park and it will be part of who they are,” Patterson shared. “For years to come, even when I’m gone, the memories will still be there.”
The city was working on the master plan for the project when Allen came on board in 2012. In 2015, the City of Clinton was awarded a PARTF grant that paid 50 percent of the price tag on a half-million dollar facelift of Royal Lane Park. City funds made up the remaining portion of the project.
“Grants like the PARTF are important for communities in eastern North Carolina, like Clinton,” Allen said. “It’s hard for projects like to be done in similar areas.”
The purpose of making renovations to Royal Lane was to provide better connectivity and flow through the park and make the park more enjoyable for the patrons. Throughout the renovation project, activities were still taking place, and other areas of the park remained open.
According to Allen, 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.