First phase of Robbins Park opens to public
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – The weather was damp and chilly last weekend, but that didn’t deter an enthusiastic crowd of citizens and officials from enjoying the grand opening of Phase 1 of Robbins Park.
Located on Crescent Drive in the Preserve at Robbins Park development off West Catawba Avenue, the park features two tennis courts, a play meadow, restrooms, a multipurpose field for activities such as badminton and volleyball, and a picnic shelter.
The centerpiece of the park is a large structure for climbing and sliding that was built to resemble trees native to the area. The structure is surrounded with a special type of resilient matting made from rubber that resembles mulch and a stone-wall seating area.
In addition, the park has a mile-long gravel trail that connects with the McDowell Creek Greenway. Several Boy Scouts of America Troops helped work on the trail.
According to Cornelius Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture Director Troy Fitzsimmons, the total cost of building Phase I was $800,000.
Classic Homes is the developer of the adjoining Preserve at Robbins Park and worked with the town to assimilate the streets and utilities of the recreational facility and neighborhood. Classic Homes President and CEO Bill Saint was pleased with the way things turned out between the park and the development.
“It’s not just unique,” Saint said. “It’s incredible.”
In 2001, Mecklenburg County originally bought the 107-acre Robbins farmstead property where the park is located. Cornelius will lease the land from the County for one dollar a year.
“It is a great partnership between Cornelius and the county,” Fitzsimmons said. “The town needed a new park. We’ve already had requests to use the multipurpose field.”
Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte was also on hand for the park-dedication ceremony.
“Robbins Park will be a jewel and an asset to the community,” Tarte said.
Tarte also praised the work that members of the Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture Commission had put into the project.
“It formed a bond between officials and members of the commission,” he said.
Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners Chair Jennifer Roberts thought the building of Robbins Park was a symbol of something greater than a recreational area.
“The dream lived on and became a reality even in this recession,” Roberts said. “It is of great value to the community in terms of health, the environment and economic value.”
Future plans for Robbins Park will include several baseball fields, a disc-golf course, natural areas, multi-purpose fields, a meadow, concession stands, a community building, an arts lodge and overflow parking.
“Completion of the rest of Robbins Park will depend on funding,” Fitzsimmons said. “It could be a couple of years and will be based on the town budget and capital improvement plans.”
A Red-tail hawk that had been rehabilitated at the Carolina Raptor Center was released at the dedication ceremony.