Riverside Park in Mount Airy has been a scene of upheaval this week, but soon will boast new recreation facilities thanks to funding from The Walt Disney Co.
The badly deteriorated basketball court area at the park on Riverside Drive is being refurbished to create not only a new roundball court, but three pickleball courts and agility stations.
This is part of a plan to transform the space into a multi-use facility serving people of all abilities, with space for outdoor exercise classes and kids’ games such as hopscotch also part of the plan.
Earlier this week, the existing surface was ripped up by crews to launch the project, followed by grading and other work to level the surface.
“They started with demolition this week and their plans are to start paving at the first of next week,” city Parks and Recreation Director Darren Lewis said Thursday.
“And then we will let it cure for one month,” Lewis said of the new surface.
“If the weather holds up, we would hope to open the courts by Nov. 1.”
Mount Airy was one of just 25 applicants in the nation to be awarded a Meet Me at the Park Grant in support of a combined goal by Disney and the National Recreation and Parks Association. It involves providing one million kids and families with greater access to local play spaces.
Only two of the grant recipients are in North Carolina, Mount Airy and Greensboro.
The $30,000 in assistance for Mount Airy required no local matching funds as many grants do.
On Aug. 16, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners awarded a $27,980 contract for the project to New River Pavers Inc.
Lewis has said the improvements were long anticipated due to the basketball court area detracting from other facilities at Riverside Park such as a playground, skateboarding facility and greenway added there in recent years.
He has particularly been excited about the development of the pickleball courts to accommodate local interest in that growing sport combining elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis.
Although the Disney grant was awarded several months ago, the work was delayed until after school started so as not to deprive local youths of the use of the basketball court area during the summer, even in its poor condition.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.