Lake Norman & Mooresville

Edgemoor Park to get makeover

A neighborhood park in Mooresville is getting a makeover, with the town and its school district agreeing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each on improvements that include building new tennis courts and restoring existing ones.

The improvements planned at Edgemoor Park, a 5-acre area just outside downtown that was built in the 1960s, are part of an agreement between the town, the Mooresville Graded School District and the Mooresville Travel & Tourism Authority. It was approved by commissioners in early August.

The work is expected to take less than a year to complete, with the town hoping to finish the project next summer, said Dick Poore, director of cultural and recreation services for the town.

The project will cost nearly $750,000, much of that going toward resurfacing four existing tennis courts at the park that were built in the 1970s and that Poore said need repairs, along with building three new ones.

In addition, it includes building an overlook, a restroom and a pavilion, as well as upgrades to walkways, bringing them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The town will pay for its share, roughly $375,000, with bond money for recreation improvements, Poore said. Besides construction costs, that money will cover a some $80,000 contract the town awarded to a Charlotte-based landscape architecture firm to oversee design and construction.

The improvements, Poore said, “will serve our citizens well into the future.”

Mooresville is home to more than a dozen tennis courts that are open to the public, including six lighted courts at Cornelius Road Park.

But the new ones at Edgemoor Park will prove particularly useful for the school district.

That is because the district is doing away with a cluster of asphalt tennis courts across the street from its high school to make way for a baseball field it expects to begin building before year’s end, said Larry Wilson, chairman of the Board of Education. The makeover is part of a $40 million expansion and renovation of the high school that began in mid-June and is expected to be finished by the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.

The district is contributing $300,000 toward the park, with the money coming from its share of a $131.5 bond for public school improvements that Iredell County voters approved in a referendum last year.

In addition, it intends to raise an additional $30,000 to $50,000 through its athletics booster club for what are known as windscreens. Attached to fences around tennis courts, they are used partly to help enhance visibility for players.

Only a half-mile from the high school, it will serve as the backdrop for tennis matches and practices.

“We both benefit,” Wilson said of the district’s partnering with the town. Officials started discussing the project last fall.

The tourism bureau, for its part, has agreed to contribute its own share, more than $70,000, that will go toward building what is perhaps the centerpiece of the project, dubbed the Championship Court. It will include bleachers and lighting.

In addition to accommodating high school tennis matches, the new courts could also help boost tourism, drawing recreation league teams and helping fill hotel rooms.

“They are a big item,” said Ron Johnson, chairman of the bureau, which is funded entirely by hotel occupancy taxes, referring to tennis tournaments. “You wouldn’t believe how much demand there is.”

Jake Flannick is a freelance writer: