The Lancaster County Council gave a preliminary nod Monday night to a measure that would trade Deputy Roy Hardin Park on Collins Road for another, smaller, piece of property on Shelley Mullis Road.
York Development Group, one of the developers of a "town center" project, asked the council to exchange Deputy Roy Hardin Park, which sits on approximately nine acres that would be included in the project, with nearly five acres of land on Shelley Mullis Road, near Six Mile Creek. The new park would be "turnkey ready," County Administrator Steve Willis said. Preliminary plans include a gravel walking trail, play structure, picnic area and open space.
Deputy Roy Hardin Park has often been called unusable by residents because of a large ditch covering several acres of the park. That ditch is what makes the land perfect for York Development Group's purposes, Willis said. The developer, which is planning the town center retail project with other developers, owns the land on Collins Road from Hwy. 521 to Deputy Roy Hardin Park. The low-lying areas of the park would be used as a retention pond for that development.
"What makes it unusable for a park makes it perfect for them," Willis said.
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Councilman Larry Honeycutt reminded the council that Deputy Roy Hardin Park is the only park in Indian Land that is not part of a residential development. He asked the council to consider making sure the new park is constructed before Deputy Roy Hardin Park is turned over to York Development Group.
Honeycutt also hoped to persuade York Development Group to change the plans for the park before the final reading to stipulate that the proposed gravel walking trail will instead be a paved trail.
"I don't think we need to exchange our park until the other is complete. We'll leave the folks in Indian Land 'parkless,' if that is a word," McCullough said.
The council voted unanimously to approve first reading of the ordinance exchanging the properties. Two more readings and a public hearing are required.
Indian Land's representative on the council, Larry McCullough, reminded the council of an issue it faced with York Development Group at last week's council meeting regarding another property owned by the developer. At the March 30 Lancaster County Council meeting, council members discussed complaints from residents who called a property at the corner of Hwy. 521 and Doby's Bridge Road owned by York Development Group an "eyesore" due to abandoned mobile homes and debris on the property.
Council members made it clear at that meeting that if York wanted approval on the park exchange, they would need to remove the debris from their other property. The mobile homes and debris were removed before the end of the week.
"The only reason I'll even vote for this is because York has been prompt in their removal of some trailers on [Hwy.] 521. Once attention was brought to the issue, the matter was resolved quickly," McCullough said.