• 63°

Alexander’s Ford nature preserve project complete

Alexander’s Ford at Bradley Nature Preserve is now complete. An open house for the public will be held Oct. 5. (photos submitted)

Public open house scheduled for Oct. 5
Polk County has successfully preserved Alexander’s Ford at Bradley Nature Preserve, using no county funding.
Alexander’s Ford project manager Ambrose Mills told the Polk County Board of Commissioners Monday, Aug. 20 that the project is closed out. He said the closeout of the project means that the county has completed the improvements and received reimbursement money.
“I’m proud to say I’m the project manager for this project,” said Mills.
Commissioners commended Mills for his work on the project by presenting him a plaque during Monday’s meeting (see photo page 5).
“It was all donated and it’s just incredible,” said commissioner chair Ray Gasperson. “It was approved the first time it was inspected. I’m convinced that’s because of Ambrose’s close personal attention.”
Mills also told commissioners that the improvement portion of the project came in under budget at $112,557, with $132,150 designated for the enhancements.
The 163-acre property along the Green River now includes trails, one that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), another main trail and a natural trail. The property was enhanced with amenities including fencing and gates, picnic tables, a picnic shelter, benches, a parking area and informational kiosks.
A grand opening will be held on Oct. 5 at a time to be announced later.
The land is situated along almost a mile of the Green River and includes part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, which follows the route of assembly taken by the American Patriot Army, which decisively defeated an American Loyalist army at the battle of Kings Mountain, S.C. in the fall of 1780.
The trail was certified in October 2011 as part of the Overmountain Victory Historic Natural Trail.
The cost of the purchase of the property and enhancements totaled $1,439,799, which was obtained completely through grants.
Grants were received from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund ($274,000), the N.C. Heritage Trust ($200,000), the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund ($500,000), the Polk County Community Foundation ($18,000), the Bradley Fund ($80,000) and the U.S. National Park Service Grant ($20,299). The land was donated, a value of $377,500.
Polk County’s vision for the property has always been to create a nature preserve that will be low maintenance and low cost to the county.
“I think we’ve protected a priceless treasure for generations to come,” said Mills.

Commissioner chair Ray Gasperson (right) presents a plaque to Alexander’s Ford project manager Ambrose Mills in recognition of his work on the project. (photo by Leah Justice)