Morrisville broke ground on Northwest Park Tuesday, a decade after the land was donated to the town.
And the park can’t come soon enough for residents who don’t have a recreational space within walking distance.
The park, nestled on the edge of the Breckenridge neighborhood, will feature playing fields, trails and a sheltered pavillion.
Officials say about a quarter of the town’s population lives nearby.
“First and foremost, I want to thank the citizens,” Mayor Mark Stohlman said at the groundbreaking. “Because without your support and tax dollars, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Northwest Park is expected to open in early 2016.
The project will cost $1.3 million, which is about $500,000 more than originally projected.
The Breckenridge developers gave the town 5 acres in 2005 to build the park. But it wasn’t until many of the neighborhood’s 1,140 households began putting pressure on local leaders that the park received funding.
Stohlman made support for the park part of his 2013 campaign to unseat then-Mayor Jackie Holcomb.
Satish Garimella, president of the Breckenridge Homeowners Association, said Tuesday that he’s happy that their large subdivision finally has a public park nearby.
Garimella is running for Town Council, as is former councilman Pete Martin, who also was at Tuesday’s groundbreaking.
Most of Morrisville’s parks and greenways are in the southern part of town, on or near Morrisville-Carpenter Road. There are two parks north of Airport Boulevard – Shiloh Park and the new Church Street Park – but both are in the northeast side of town.
Northwest Park is, as its name indicates, the first park on the northwest side of town. And it’s about as far northwest as possible, at the corner of Parkside Valley and Ruby Walk drives. It brushes up against what might become a future extenstion of Louis Stephens Drive.
Until the park opens this winter, Cary’s Agriculture Park remains the closest public park for residents of Breckenridge and other nearby neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods also have private recreation areas.
In Breckenridge, the front yards are just a few square feet of grass, and the backyards aren’t much bigger.
“The houses are tight together, so the yards aren’t big enough to play in,” said 31-year-old Bethany Lewis, who was at the groundbreaking with her three children, ages 5, 7 and 8, and their dog.
Divya Jha, 37, said her 13-year-old son will enjoy having a place he can walk to with other neighborhood boys to play soccer or cricket.
She and some of the other mothers already are planning meals at the future pavillion.
“We have small kids, so we are all just eagerly waiting,” Jha said. “It’s just two minutes away, and we’ll be spending hours here.”
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran