The construction that began last week between two ball fields at the Recreation Complex on the Greenway should help people get to and from the facility, once a new entrance opens later this summer.
A second entrance should be complete by mid-August. It connects the property to Springfield Parkway. The aim is to have two ways in and out for the various events — swim meets, rec league contests, youth sports practice — where visitors arrive or leave all at once.
“Congestion at peak hours, especially for those departing the complex property, has been a problem for many years,” said Tim Patterson, president of Leroy Springs & Co., Inc. and the Anne Springs Close Greenway. “Allowing direct access onto Springfield Parkway will ease that congestion considerably.”
A wide stretch of trees already is down, making the Springfield Parkway entrance site visible from the upper ballfield. The fields on either side remain in use.
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The complex routinely hosts large events, and often multiple events simultaneously. As construction began last week, the upper field on one side of the new clearing held a district coach pitch baseball championship while adult recreation softball games took place on the lower two fields. All while tennis courts, the pools and other facilities were being used.
The new construction will mean a change for the trails in that area. The Greenway trailhead and entrance kiosk will be moved. It will be accessible during construction, but hikers should look for signage directing them to the new location. New maps should be ready by the end of July.
There has been discussion in recent years concerning the future of the complex property, with the potential for redevelopment to residential or another use. A lease between LSC and the town of Fort Mill for recreation use at the complex runs through 2020.
Elizabeth Bowers, development and marketing manager for the Greenway, said the entrance isn’t intended as a new road for redevelopment.
“There are no plans to convert to a road,” she said.
The trail relocation should allow for that use to remain pending any future changes.
“The entrance will provide user access to the Anne Springs Close Greenway trailhead,” Bowers said.
“We are in the process of relocating the trailhead further down from its current location, where it will continue to provide trail access for hikers and mountain bikers. Any future development would incorporate that usage.”
The Greenway opened in 1995 and last year saw more than 256,000 visitors. It has about 40 miles of trails along the 2,100-acre preserve.