Fort Mill Times

80 acres of fun in Tega Cay

With a unanimous city council vote, Tega Cay's Catawba River Park is beginning to take 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 roughly 80 acres of riverfront south of New Grayrock Road. Ten acres came from land donated to the city from Lake Ridge (formerly Gardendale) and the rest comes from two parcels owned by Duke Energy near the Lake Wylie Dam. Last Monday'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."

While the city is finishing negotiations with Duke, Funderburk hopes to get things started with the 10-acre parcel already inside the city, which will include the baseball fields, gym and parking lot. Central Bark, the city's dog park, is also currently on the property, but may be relocated within the larger park once development begins in earnest. However, Funderburk said the initial phase of development is still as much as 18 months away, depending on how long it takes to get all the necessary approvals to begin.

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

The city will be seeking both state and federal grants, private donations and is planning to use some funds from Tega Cay's hospitality tax revenue, which has to 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 also allow the existing trail network inside the city to connect with the Nation Ford Greenway and the 15-county Carolina Thread Trail project, which seeks to connect the people of the Charlotte Region with walking, hiking and biking trails.

Funderburk is unsure of the total cost of developing the park