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New Park and Recreation SportsPlex will be "a dream come true" for East Charlotte neighborhoods.

July 26, 2007 (updated August 6)

A neighborhood in East Charlotte is getting something residents have wanted for years - a place to take the kids for a picnic and a place to kick a soccer ball or whack a softball. Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation is preparing to convert ninety acres behind a shopping center into Eastway Specialty Park.

The Park and Recreation Department and representatives of surrounding neighborhoods broke ground August 4 on the project at 5399 Waterwood Street, behind the shopping center at Eastway Drive and the Plaza. Click here to view a slideshow.

The park will incorporate 33 acres from the old Briarwood Neighborhood Park and an additional 57 acres. Click here for a rendering of the park master plan.

The sportsplex is projected to open by fall of 2008. It will eventually have nine multipurpose fields, four softball fields, a playground, picnic shelters, basketball courts, tennis courts, recreation center, restrooms and parking. The park will be developed in phases. Phase I will cost $3.6 million, paid for by County bonds approved by voters. This phase will include two multipurpose fields (on the Eastway side), two softball fields (on the Briarwood side), two restroom buildings, trails, roads and parking. Additional phases will be developed as funding is available.

"This park is a dream-come-true for the surrounding community," says Maxine Eaves, former President of the Plaza-Eastway Partners-Northeast Coalition. "We have had meetings and meetings and meetings for years seeking this facility. It will be a center for our neighborhoods and provide important recreation opportunities for both youth and adults."

The park will serve many neighborhoods in the area: Plaza Park I and II, Highland Trace, Citiside, Sharon Park, Hampshire Hills, Bridlewood, Eastbrook, Green Meadows, and Green Forest. Here's an interesting fact: for many years, the property included stables and a half mile horse track where the Herrin Family raised harness trotting horses for racing all over the east coast. When Mecklenburg County acquired the property, the impression of the old track was still clearly visible from the air.

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