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Project offers more river access

TEGA CAY -- By unanimous City Council vote, Tega Cay's Catawba River Park is taking shape.

The plan includes a gymnasium, four baseball fields, a parking lot, walking trails, multipurpose fields, a disc golf course, fishing piers, a canoe and kayak launch -- even a dog park.

The park will stretch along 80 acres on the river south of New Grayrock Road. Ten acres was donated by Lake Ridge (formerly Gardendale) and the rest comes from two parcels owned by Duke Energy near the Lake Wylie Dam. Last week's vote was the first of two on annexing the Duke Property.

"We still have to work out the long-term lease with Duke," Tega Cay Operations Manager Charlie Funderburk said. "Then we have to bid out the engineering plans and get the permits."

Funderburk hopes to start with baseball fields, gym and parking lot at the 10-acre parcel inside city limits. Central Bark, the city's dog park, also is on the property, but may be relocated within the larger park.

However, Funderburk said the initial phase of development is still as much as 18 months away.

"It will all depend on funding, and how quickly we can obtain funding," Funderburk said.

The city will be seeking state and federal grants, private donations and is planning to use money from city's hospitality tax revenue, which must be used on tourism-related projects. City leaders expect an 80-acre park along the river to attract many visitors and possibly host baseball or softball tournaments.

The walking trails throughout the property will connect to the Nation Ford Greenway and the 15-county Carolina Thread Trail project, which will connect to Steele Creek for walking, hiking and biking.

Funderburk said it could cost $3 million to $10 million or more to complete the project.

"More than likely it will be built across a couple of years," he said.

By granting more public access to riverfront property it owns, Duke Energy is complying with a shoreline management plan required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said spokeswoman Lindy Atwell.

In addition to leasing the land to Tega Cay, Duke is building two fishing piers near the dam that meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, and will be improving the parking lot and turn-around area at the existing boat ramp.

This story was posted online at lakewyliepilot.com.

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