An $11 million baseball park, basketball gym turned community center await Fort Mill.

Fort Mill is ready to add a park and a community center to its growing list of public amenities.

Fort Mill Town Council is moving forward with an $11 million plan for Banks Athletic Park, formally and informally known as the Waterside park. The 25-acre site near Banks Road and Sparkling Brook Parkway was donated by Lennar as part of the Waterside at the Catawba project.

The main draw at Banks Athletic Park will be baseball/softball fields. The town needed more fields with the pending loss of its current baseball and softball sites at the Fort Mill YMCA. Leroy Springs & Company donated the gym there to the town, but kept the field space for likely redevelopment.

“We’ve enjoyed being able to use these fields for many years,” said Chris Pettit, assistant town manager. “We thank Leroy Springs and Company for letting us use the fields as they have greatly benefited our athletic programs and our community as a whole.”

The town also voted to change the name of its Banks Street Gym to the Fort Mill Community Center. The town wants to upgrade the site, and having it as a community center could help with grant requests.

“Council would like to see the facility upgraded to increase the overall usability of the site,” Pettit said. “This might include interior and exterior enhancements, internal reconfigurations to provide meeting or event rental space, or the addition of new town programs utilizing the renovated space.”

The town uses the gym for its basketball program and in recent years used it for parks and recreation space. Parks and rec took over office space more recently in the Fort Mill YMCA, the former Leroy Springs Recreation Complex on Tom Hall Street now owned by the town and run by Upper Palmetto YMCA.

The gym turned community center on Banks Street is part of what once was Fort Mill High School. When the current Fort Mill High School opened the school on Banks Street became the Fort Mill School District’s only middle school, then later a fifth-grade school.

The school, taken down and replaced by new homes, also served other functions like housing the Fort Mill Care Center and Fort Mill Community Playhouse.

The town is working toward a variety of improvements. Along with taking over the Fort Mill YMCA, the school district is partnering to add on to the aquatic center there. The town also has an amphitheater plan for Elisha Park.

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