With more and more land in York County being eaten up by developers, it's comforting to know that at least some green space will remain.
Anne Springs Close, the matriarch of the Springs textile empire, led the first hike last month along the new Nation Ford Greenway trail in Fort Mill. The trail runs for a little more than two miles along Sugar Creek. In time, it will continue to where Sugar and Steele creeks meet and link with the Anne Springs Close Greenway and 31 miles of trails circling Fort Mill, including a stretch along the Catawba River.
The trail also eventually will connect with Mecklenburg County greenways. A proposed pedestrian bridge across the river also is planned as a link with the Rock Hill parks system.
The Nation Ford Land Trust, the Trust for Public Land and Crescent Resources -- developer of the Springfield community -- joined with area government agencies on the project.
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Last week, Tega Cay officials had an announcement of their own. The city is planning a 100-acre Catawba River Park that will include four activity fields, at least two baseball fields, walking trails, a nine-hole disc golf course, a gym, tennis courts, a small playground and more.
The park's trails will join with Tega Cay's existing trails and the new Nation Ford Greenway Trail, and will be part of the complex of trails that weave through York County and link with trails in Mecklenburg County.
Tega Cay's new park also is expected to link with adjacent land along the river that is expected to be developed by the YMCA. Those properties could tie together with walking trails that run along the river toward the future York County Cultural & Heritage Commission museum.
All this won't happen overnight. Development will begin with the city's 10 acres adjacent to New Grey Rock Road. The rest of the property is owned by Duke Energy, which is expected to request annexation by the city within the next few months. Then the city will have to get the required permits, acquire engineering services and raise money for the project. Overall, it could take five years to complete.
All the trails and the future waterfront park will be open to the public.
The commitment to set aside land for the preservation of green space and outdoor recreation demonstrates the foresight of all those involved. It speaks well of the values held by the contingent of leaders, in both a public and private capacity, who make projects such as this a priority.
We are grateful that the work they are doing now will allow future generations to enjoy some of the natural splendor of the county.
New hiking trail and proposed waterfront park will help preserve natural areas.