Saluda plans expansion of McCreery Park, construction of Saluda Grade Trail

Published 12:32 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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City hopes to raise $500,000 to construct new features


SALUDA – On Monday, March 14, the Saluda Board of Commissioners held a “drop in” meeting at the Saluda Public Library to discuss the expansion of McCreery Park.

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The town discussed plans to expand the park and construct the Saluda Grade Trail, a potential rail trail from Inman, S.C., to Zirconia, N.C., with about 16 miles of the trail in South Carolina. The remaining 15 miles in North Carolina would run through the historic downtown districts of Saluda and Tryon.

City Manager Steven Orr said the purpose of the meeting was “to explain the vision and how Saluda fits into that vision.” 

Hendersonville Landscape Architect and Land Planner Hunter Marks said that the idea is to make McCreery park the center of downtown, to ensure the trail will come through Saluda. 

“What we’re proposing to do, assuming the trail will come through, it’s important that the town can say they have a plan,” said Marks. “If Saluda really wants to get in front of this, you don’t want Saluda to come to the trail, you want the trail to come to Saluda.”

Located at the intersection of Greenville St. and Main St., the park expansion would include the playground, an amphitheater, garden terrace, ropes course, and other outdoor amenities. The construction would most likely occur in two or three phases.

Two crosswalks would be added from downtown leading to the park. The playground would be enlarged, and a green would be added. In addition, there would be a path leading up to the existing pavilion. The existing stage could be extended into an amphitheater with added seating. Along with some added parking, there are also plans for a rope course called “The Flying Rabbit,” which would be suitable for ages as young as six. 


Proposed design of McCreery Park (Courtesy of Saluda Board of Commissioners)

Marks added “We had a thought to have a splash pad, which during the day could be a real attraction for kids, and at night could become a plaza. It becomes a dual-use space.” Orr elaborated, stating “The big thing is to take the assets we have already there and upgrade them.”

The City of Saluda has already received $170,000 from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Transformation Grant. In a later meeting the same day, the Board held a meeting to plan how to present the concept to the state for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant, which would award an additional $200,000. Orr said the goal was to raise $500,000 to fund the park, by applying for other grants over the next two or three years. Individual donors will also be welcome to donate to the park’s construction and future maintenance.