Indian Trail recently opened Crossing Paths Park with fireworks and fanfare befitting the 104-year-old town's first public park.
The one-acre park was developed in less than a year on property off Indian Trail Road near the Town Hall. The town received about $100,000 in donations and in-kind services, and Indian Trail added $200,000 for the park's development, said Indian Trail Town Manager Joe Fivas.
"I think our final product is much better than anyone imagined, and I think that people in the community seem to have a lot of enthusiasm for the project overall," Fivas said.
Community groups, residents and businesses contributed money, labor and even the town's first public art to the park. In the days before the opening, town staff helped with preparations by planting bushes and spreading mulch.
"The opening of Indian Trail's first municipal-events park is and has been a labor of love by the entire community," said Town Council member Robert Allen. "Our town staff, elected officials and our residents have all been committed to this project and have sweat equity in it."
Despite threatening weather, a large crowd attended May 15 opening ceremony. Children played on the park's "Lion's Den" playground, and people of all ages enjoyed sitting and dancing on the lawn, listening to live music from Too Much Sylvia.
The band played in the park's Union West Rotary amphitheater. The Rotary group donated $50,000 to its construction.
Crossing Paths Park also is home to a bronze bust of a Native American man representing some of the area's earliest inhabitants. The statue was donated by the Indian Trail Arts & Historical Society.
Indian Trail resident Kimberly Davis-White said she planned to picnic in the new park with her family as well as attend town events there.
"Crossing Paths Park will bring families together and allow them to bond with the beauty of our outdoors," Davis-White said. "I look forward to being able to make new friends here and reconnect with old ones. What a great tribute to a place where so many of us grew up."
Fivas said the park already was filled with families in the days following its opening.
The town will now focus on 51 acres off Matthews-Indian Trail Road it recently bought for a regional park. The town has applied for a grant to develop the land and also is discussing bonds this fall to pay for it.
Plans have not been finalized for the regional park, but initial plans show walking trails, multipurpose athletic fields and picnic areas.