MARSHVILLE, N.C. — The town of Marshville in Union County is hoping its new purchase, 111 acres of land, will be the town's newest public park.
The land, located along U.S. 74, features a more than 16-acre lake.
Town Manager Franklin Deese said the project could and should help put Marshville on the map.
"We want to market ourselves and make ourselves a destination. And I think this is the first step towards making Marshville a destination, a place where people, not just in Marshville, but people all over the county may just say, ‘Let’s go down to Marshville," Deese said on the old fishing pier on the newly purchased lake.
Commonly known as "Stegall Lake", Deese said it used to be a fishing spot. He hopes it can return to its old glory.
The town purchased the land from the Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina. The group did keep some of the acreage. However, a majority of it, 111 acres, now belongs to Marshville.
"We just have ideas of opening it back up to the public," Deese said about the town's future plans.
The town is currently working with a consultant on a park masterplan for the project, along with a state grant application to help fund it.
"Maybe a fishing pier, so that they could fish. Maybe some paddle boats, so they can come out on a Saturday afternoon, Sunday afternoon, just a family time," Deese continued. "I have some big dreams of building a building out here, sort of, that we might have a restaurant. So you can go to the restaurant and eat on the lake."
Deese's enthusaism is infectious, and he hopes it spreads to residents of the town and state tourists alike.
"It’s right here by 74. We have thousands of cars going to Myrtle Beach, or going to the beach, every year. We hope to have this in such a way that people will stop, you know, even though they’re on their way to the beach. Maybe get some RV hookups, or some cabins, so that maybe a stop overnight and eat at my restaurant. But those are the hopes and dreams that we’re working on," Deese said.
The town government is currently focused on the coming year's budget proposal but will hopefully get back to park planning in late summer, or early fall, according to Deese. Deese said there will likely be opportunities for public input on the park plan during the same timeframe of late summer, early fall.
For the moment, the town's public works department is working on clearing some of the trees and greenery in front of the lake so it can be seen from U.S. 74.
"People can drive by and start to look at it and see how beautiful the lake is," Deese said.
Other plans for the 111 acres could include walking and nature trails, rental campsites and cabins, lakeside beach activities and a live event venue, according to a town press release.
There is currently not a groundbreaking scheduled or estimated opening date for the park, according to Deese.