Amid the faint sounds of construction and birdsongs, county and state officials donned hard hats and dug golden shovels into a pile of red clay to officially break ground on Belews Lake Park in Forsyth County on Monday.
The event was largely ceremonial as construction on the 200-acre park actually began in February. The parking lot where the groundbreaking was held is evidence of that: construction workers recently carved it out of the surrounding forest of tall pine trees.
Forsyth County Commissioner Don Martin says that’s just the start. Soon, he says the park will feature playgrounds, fishing docks, and miles of walking trails.
The project has been in the making for more than three years. It began with the goal of protecting natural land amid increasing development.
“Every little nook and cranny folks are finding places to build small subdivisions and we’re having more planning cases than we ever had," said Martin. "So it’s important, if there ever was a time as important, for us to preserve land like this.”
A grant from the state’s Clean Water Management Trust paid for the land for the park, which was previously owned by Duke Energy. Funding for the rest of the $3.5 million project came from the state and county governments.
Martin says the park should be open to the public by the end of the year.