By Jesse Wood
After nearly two years since being awarded a $135,800 grant from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund for the purchase of Otter Falls Park and receiving matching funds from The Conservation Fund, the Town of Seven Devils will host a grand opening of the park on Friday, June 5, at 2 p.m.
Town Manager Ed Evans was particularly stoked about the creation of the park and its upcoming grand opening, which is open to the public.
“Absolutely,” Evans said. “This is one of the biggest things to happen to Seven Devils since it became a town.”
In 2013, the Town of Seven Devils purchased nearly 10 acres of the land that comprises the park from Clyde David Little for about $265,000. The $135,800 grant required a 50/50 match with town funds.
The land was known locally as Otter Falls Park, and according to a prior resolution adopted by the town, it has historical significance because of its usage by Native Americans and for being a track bed for the original Tweetsie Railroad.
In 2013, Evans noted that the aside from two tennis courts and a small playground, there was little public land for residents to explore and enjoy.
“That is one reason this is important to so many of our folks … This 9.78-acre parcel is the midway point in town. It’s all wooded, natural, has a small stream, a small waterfall. It’s a very pretty piece of property,” Evans said when that grant was awarded.
While there is a grand opening scheduled in several days, the park is not completed yet. Evans said that three-fifths of the trails are complete, and now the town is seeking another grant and individual donations to fund the remainder of the trail building.
In January, the Seven Devils Town Council unanimously agreed to seek another 50/50 matching grant up to $45,000 for the completion of the park.
“It’s a work in progress,” Evans said.
Once the trails are complete, Evans said that one could walk up to two miles of fresh trail depending on how they navigated the trail system.
For those interested in attending the grand opening, the Town of Seven Devils will provide shuttles at three locations to take guests to and from the park because parking will not be available at the park during the ceremony.
The shuttles will run from 12:30 to 4 p.m. next Friday and will stop at three locations: Town Hall, the big parking lot across from Town Hall and Seven Devils Resort Club, the latter of which is where the ceremony will be held if the weather is too bad to be held outside.
For more information, contact Town Hall at 828-963-5343.