ELIZABETHTOWN — Tory Hole Park has transformed from trash to treasure. It was once only frequented by drug dealers, but has now become an enjoyable place for families and nature lovers.
Elizabethtown held a ribbon-cutting on Monday morning for the new boardwalk that connects the park to the river bank. The 140’ x 6’ boardwalk section leads to a 125’ x 6’ boardwalk section and ends at a 12’ x 24’ overlook. The boardwalks are shaded by tall, vast trees, which creates a cool stroll on an especially breezy day. On a sunny day, rays of light may peek through the trees and create beautiful patterns of shade and light. At the overlook, there is a porch-swing to sit and look over the Cape Fear River.
This project, along with renovations to the restrooms and walking trails, were all expected to be finished in Oct., 2018, but were finished four months early, in May, 2018, with TJ’s Marine Contracting, for $42,740.
The improved walking trails open many opportunities for enjoyment.
“People can bike, walk, bird watch, or collect rocks,” explained Town Manager Eddie Madden.
Other renovations to the Park were completed in Nov., 2017 to make the park more attractive. This includes bumper stoppers in the parking lot, new gravel, proper drainage, new picnic tables, new trash cans, a nine-hole disc golf, a horseshoe patch, and a newly installed playground. The amphitheater also went under major renovations with new lumber and electrical features.
“I’d love to see the amphitheater used for Friday night movie nights,” Elizabethtown Parks and Recreation Director Rod Fritz commented. “Families could come out to the park and have popcorn while watching a family-friendly movie, or I’d love to get in touch with local theater enthusiasts who might be interested in putting on plays. Concerts are another option out there.”
The costs of renovation that made the park a treasure were substantial, but with the help of a $250,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant, $125,000 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and grant money totalling $100,000 from Duke Energy, the town had the opportunity to fix many of the parks imperfections.
“It’s special that we have it right here in our town,” said Madden.”It is now accessible and a place for families to come and enjoy themselves. It’s also a place to picnic or to simply relax and unwind.”
“Congratulations to this community,” beamed Madden. “Myself and the staff are very proud, especially the mayor.”
The Park is open from dawn until dusk for people to come and enjoy all of its assets.
Rachel Horrell is a summer intern with the Bladen Journal and can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.