Tega Cay plans 100-acre park along Catawba River

When Tega Cay founders declared it a recreation community, they weren't kidding.

With about a dozen parks already available for walking, swimming, golf, tennis and more, the city is planning yet another: the 100-acre Catawba River Park.

A 10-acre portion owned by the city might open sooner, but City Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Funderburk estimates it will take five years of legal requirements, fundraising, planning and construction to open the complete multi-purpose facility, located below the Lake Wylie Dam at the boat launch and public access area. The city's 10 acres adjacent to New Grey Rock Road was donated by Cornerstone Development, developers of Gardendale.

The balance of the property is owned by Duke Energy, and Mayor Bob Runde expects the power company to request annexation within the next few months.

Preliminary plans call for four activity fields, at least two baseball fields, walking trails, a nine-hole disc golf course, a gym, tennis courts, small playground and more.

The trail is proposed to link up with Tega Cay's existing trail and eventually become part of a 31-mile trail circling parts of York County and continuing into Charlotte-Mecklenburg's trail system. Adjacent and southeast of the property along the river is land upon which the YMCA has an option from Clear Springs for future recreation uses.

"It is our vision that our property and the YMCA property will more or less tie together so that our walking trails will lead directly into theirs and continue on down the river toward the future York County Cultural & Heritage Commission museum," Funderburk said. "We have a pretty substantial parking lot located on our end adjacent to theirs, allowing them additional parking for their facilities."

Even better, it will be open to the public, as most of Tega Cay's facilities are.

"Everyone from Charlotte enjoys our parks already," Runde said with a chuckle.

While required government permits and engineering services are being sought, the city also is looking at funding. Total cost is unknown until engineering design is completed.

"We will exhaust all possible funding sources we can for this project," Funderburk said. He cited state and federal grant programs, as well as York County recreation funds, as potential sources.

"If need be, we will go to the residents with a recreation bond referendum, as well," he added. "With the size and design of this facility, we are sure that it will have a positive regional impact and are hoping state and county leaders will want to get behind us and assist us in making it a reality."