Gastonia Parks and Recreation seeks funding to develop a park

The old Linwood Springs golf course hasn’t been much fun for over a decade, but the town of Gastonia looks set to move forward with its plan to turn the 148 acres of land into shade of Crowders Mountain in the park.

When complete, the park will have something for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, said Cam Carpenter, director of parks and recreation for the city.

“It will be good for those who like to hike or want to take a leisurely stroll or hit the trails,” Carpenter said.

Gastonia City Council recently approved the Parks and Recreation Department’s proposal for the city’s $500,000 grant application to fund the first phase of the park.

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The approval allows the city to apply to the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which provides matching grants to local governments for recreation projects.

The grant will provide up to $500,000 and will require the city to provide a $500,000 matching grant that would cover most of the funding needed for the first phase of the project, Carpenter said.

Parks and Recreation will submit the application to the state’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and expects to hear the results in October of this year.

“It’s a park for everyone, from young to old,” Carpenter said.

The 148-acre property sits along Linwood Road and sat vacant while the City of Gastonia worked to develop recreational use plans for the area.

The old golf course was used for over 50 years before closing ten years ago. The state purchased the route for a possible toll road to Charlotte until that plan fell out of favor.

Entrance to the old Linwood Golf Course at the end of Wildwood Drive Monday morning April 25, 2022.

The city now plans to use the old golf course for a park that will include six miles of trails, RV campsites, cabins and hangout spaces.

The first phase will include 20 RV campsites with a dump station, a dog park for small and large dogs, an 18-hole soccer/golf disc area, additional parking, bathroom and trail renovations , four fishing quays, two sand volleyball courts and two play areas including one for 2 to 5 year olds and one for 5 to 12 year olds.

The second and third phases will include a ropes course, zip line, vehicle bridge crossing a stream on the property, additional RV porches, cabins and other open spaces.

“The main priority is connecting the park to Crowders Mountain and the city,” Carpenter said.

Plans include at least six miles of trails with a 2-mile trail connecting the park to Crowders Mountain.

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The city also wants to use the site space to host events such as wedding receptions, concerts, outdoor festivals, food truck fundraising days and corporate team building activities.

“We also want to include educational opportunities such as signs about different tree species and wetlands,” Carpenter said.

The next stage of the redevelopment includes waiting for a response on funding. In the meantime, Parks and Recreation will continue to do park maintenance and planning.

Carpenter likes to see West Gastonia continue to grow.

“I’m just excited because this is one of the great park projects we’ve done in the last 20 years,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter expects the first phase of the project to start in the spring of 2023 if the city receives funding from the state’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.

He expects the first phase to take about a year and thinks the total multi-phase project could take between three and 10 years.

Contact Janiya Winchester at 980-319-6819 or [email protected]