York County ‘rediscovers’ Catawba River with recreation boom
Not quite two years after Lake Wylie voters approved funding for it, dirt will turn on the long-awaited sports complex on Crowders Creek in northern York County.
“The groundbreaking is just the beginning,” said Ron Domurat, Lake Wylie recreation tax board member.
The park will be 50 acres of baseball and multipurpose fields, open space and walking trails. There will be a picnic shelter, concession stand, basketball and tennis courts. It will have a playground area.
A public drop-in with updates on the park is Oct. 9. Drawings and other information from York County will be presented at a 6:30-8:30 p.m. event at Bethel Volunteer Fire Department station one at 5620 Oakridge Road. York County Councilwoman Allison Love will be there, as will county staff, recreation tax board members and representatives from design group Woolpert Engineering and contractor J.D. Goodrum.
At 10 a.m. Oct. 12, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the park site at 1101 Field Day Lane within the Paddlers Cove neighborhood.
Before Domurat joined the recreation tax board, he and other community members with Lake Wylie Athletic Association led a public campaign to approve a voter referendum for the special tax district. The plan was to build a sports park where local teams can play and visiting teams can come in for tournaments, bringing money to spend at local restaurants and businesses.
“It’s been a while,” Domurat said. “Its been a long time coming. This is the first part.”
Looking to put a park on county-owned property along Crowders Creek, community members worked for a decade toward the now $9.45 million plan. The county pledged $2.45 million from the hospitality tax fund, which comes from a charge on prepared food and drink in unincorporated areas like Lake Wylie. Lake Wylie residents needed to fund the rest of the construction cost, hence the November 2016 special tax district vote.
“We wouldn’t be here if the county hadn’t stepped in,” Domurat said.
York County doesn’t have a parks and recreation program. It does run Ebenezer Park on the lake in Rock Hill. Historically, the county has distributed money to municipal parks and recreation departments.
As of spring, the Lake Wylie recreation tax had collected about $3.6 million. Only $120,000 had been spent, all on engineering and other pre-construction work for the park. In March, the county tabbed J.D. Goodrum and Woolpert Engineering for the project.
Domurat said architects gave four options, and park plans are about 75 percent complete.
“The ground plan is complete,” he said. “All of the topographical plans are complete. All the physical features are complete. We’re trying to figure out the use of the buildings, what they’ll look like, how big they’ll be.”
The park should have exciting features, he said, like the area between the press box, ballfields, community building and soccer fields which could serve as an open plaza.
“We can have musical events there,” Domurat said. “We can have food truck Fridays there. It will be a big meeting area during tournaments. It would be somewhere we could have a craft fair.”
On Friday morning, York County Office of Emergency Management posted information Palmetto Rock Services has a month-long blasting permit for grading and trenching work of Paddlers Cove Drive. Four days prior, York County Council approved a construction contract change fine-tuning work J.D. Goodrum will perform. Council also voted to create a position of park superintendent. As of Friday afternoon, it hadn’t been posted for applicants.
“We’re trying to make it serve all our needs,” Domurat said.
Construction could take about a year, with park fields in use in spring 2020.