Improvements toTory Hole Parkare worthwhile

Since August 1781, Tory Hole — now located in the downtown area of Elizabethtown — has been an iconic setting, filled with stories, legend and historical facts centering around the Revolutionary War battle that saw a severely outnumbered group of local patriots outwit and overwhelm a large group of British loyalists.

Last month, the town of Elizabethtown received word that the North Carolina Parks & Recreation Authority had approved a $250,000 grant to be put toward a total cost of $680,000 for improvements in what is now Tory Hole Park.

You can read W. Curt Vincent’s story about the grant on Page 3A today.

The improvements in the park will include a raised boardwalk to the Cape Fear River shoreline, constructing a fishing pier, putting in a nature-themed playground, adding horseshoe pits, adding an area for disc golf, creating new trails, improving the restrooms and doing renovations to the amphitheater and picnic shelter.

We are pleased to see that Tory Hole Park will get much-needed attention. The town’s plans to focus a major effort on the park is both long overdue and worthwhile.

Each of the areas involved in the project will help to attract a wider variety of visitors to the park — which in turn will bring people to the nearby downtown business district, putting dollars into the local economy and perhaps extending the interest for all Bladen County has to offer.

With the renewed interest being shown to Tory Hole Park, thanks mostly to the spotlight being shone on the history by the Battle of Elizabethtown events over the past few years, we think this is a perfect time to see town officials begin improvements in earnest.

If there was an area where we would hope the town would also concentrate, it would be to make a strong effort to add some historical preservation — perhaps in the way of educational boards along the trails, near the amphitheater and picnic shelter.

Tory Hole was created because of an historic event during this nation’s earliest days. The bravery of those involved, including Col. Thomas Robeson and Sallie Salter, should be permanently noted in some way within the park itself. We hope the town will find a way to do that so future generations of residents and students will be able to get a sense for what took place there.

It will be three or four years before the new and improved Tory Hole Park can be unveiled, but the excitement is already building.



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