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Nolan Park project officially complete with additional features still in the works

Whiteville’s Nolan Park was officially opened for business Friday, although the park has never actually been “closed” during the million-dollar facelift.

“This day has been a long time coming,” said City Manager Darren Currie.

The project was funded by a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant that was approved in 2015. The city provided a $500,000 match to help provide additional playing fi elds, exercise areas, walking trails and park facilities.

Chairman Neil Lewis of the N.C. Parks and Recreation Authority congratulated the city on the park, noting that the PARTF program has helped provide $190 million in more than 400 grants in every county in the state.

“You are fortunate to have a facility like this and a city staff willing to work so hard to promote recreation,” he said.

The project was more than three years in the making before the city was approved for the funding. Officials had to compile a new park users study as well as a city master plan for all parks and recreation opportunities, as well as obtain funding for the city’s match.

Mayor Terry Mann praised Parks and Rec director Blake Spivey, events coordinator Charlotte Almada and former director Tim Collier for their work on the PARTF project.

“You worked long and hard on this, and it s hows,” Mann said.

Spivey said that improving opportunities at the park is important for the city, and for improving the recreation programs through the park and the department.

“We still have a lot to do,” he said.

More ballfields means the city can host even more events, said Jennifer Holcomb of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, and the park’s other features will offer something of interest to everyone.

“New businesses and residents look for recreation opportunities,” she said. “This is an investment in the quality of life in Whiteville and the county, and we just want to see it succeed and grow even more.”

Story By: Jefferson Weaver, The News Reporter, jeffersonweaver@nrcolumbus.com