Park to close for construction


First Posted: 7/9/2009

A popular Mount Airy park will be closed for two days next week due to a construction project there.
All areas of Riverside Park will be shut down Monday and Tuesday so paving and other work can occur. The park is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday.
Construction has been under way at the city facility since March 30, when crews with North State Environmental broke ground on the Ararat River Restoration Project. In conjunction with the streambank restoration, portions of the park which borders the river are being improved as well.
Along with paving parking areas, the renovations include a trail head for a new greenway, a new park entrance sign, a canoe-launching point and landscaping.
When the restoration project was launched in late March, officials with the city Parks and Recreation Department warned that it would disrupt reservations and activities at Riverside Park and require some closings for safety purposes.
After next weeks closing, no similar moves are planned, according to Darren Lewis, Mount Airys assistant recreation director. To my knowledge, that should be the only time that we should have to shut down, Lewis said Thursday.
Riverside Park, which has two picnic shelters, a ballfield, a playground and a basketball court, is used heavily by the public. Thursday afternoon, two busloads of Surry County students were using the playground facilities, while others played basketball and enjoyed additional activities. Heavy machinery rumbled nearby in parking areas, stirring up thick clouds of dust as crews prepared the surfaces for paving.
The Ararat River restoration project itself stretches from the northern side of Riverside Park to U.S. 52, covering some 16,928 feet. The project is a response to streambank erosion which has been occurring at a rate of 15 feet per year.
Depending on factors including the weather, the work will be completed sometime between this November and March 2010.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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