Improving quality of life for residents

Published 8:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2018

Saluda seeking donations to improve McCreery Park

SALUDA — Thanks to private donations, Saluda has completed the first steps in refurbishing McCreery Park.

A new swing set, a new fall surface, a new tree, shrubs and mulch are already increasing the use of the popular downtown park.

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However, more funding is needed to complete the park renovation master plan, which was approved by the Saluda Board of Commissioners in 2016.

The city of Saluda is trying to raise matching funds in order to refurbish McCreery Park. (Photo by Catherine Hunter/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

“The parks committee looked at a state parks and recreation trust fund grant,” said Saluda City Manager Jonathan Cannon. “At the time, the board of commissioners was not ready to commit the required matching funds.”

Cannon said the board is hoping to receive enough donations so it can soon reconsider applying for the grant.

Donations and grant funds would provide for accessible walkways, new bathrooms, new playground equipment designed for young children through teenagers, benches and picnic tables, porch style swings, and a new hard surface in front of the stage that can be used for dancing. He said there will also be a lawn area that can be used for activities such as picnics, touch football or throwing Frisbees.

The new swing set in McCreery Park features the “bird’s nest” rope swing, which is a favorite with kids, teens and adults. (Photo by Catherine Hunter/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

“We have an individual who agreed to donate funds to match up to $25,000,” Cannon said. “We are hoping for donations to reach that $25,000.”

City workers finished installing the new swing set in time for Coon Dog Day Festival the week of July 4. The renovations included a high-tech rubber fall surface complete with artificial turf for safety.

From old to new — the city of Saluda is working to raise funds to continue the renovations to McCreery Park. (Photo by Catherine Hunter/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

Cannon said the new swings are very popular.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “Most of the time, there are kids out there.”

Cannon said the new swing set includes swings with flat seats that are more comfortable than the old curved style swings they used to have. There is also a round disk swing with a rope web called the “bird’s nest.”

“The kids seem to love it,” he said. “We even see teenagers and adults laying on it and swinging back and forth.”

The old swing set was more than 30 years old, and the rest of the equipment was outdated as well.

“Its given great use and served its purpose for many years,” Cannon said. “But it was tired and ready to be replaced.”

In addition to the new swing set, a grant from the Polk County Appearance Commission helped the city to update the ambiance of the park. Donations matched the $600 grant, which provided new shrubbery, a new tree and mulch for the grounds.

The board of commissioners is hoping to raise enough donations to apply for the PARTF grant to complete the master plan improvements.

Cannon said anyone wishing to donate can stop by city hall or call 828-749-2581.