12Heritage ParkWhile the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners considers spending money on a temporary fix for the ongoing project to develop the former Hope Mills Golf Course, Commissioner Pat Edwards would like some money spent on the permanent completion of another town project.

Edwards recently toured the proposed Heritage Park land with town director of public works Don Sisko.

She took the tour a couple of days after the board debated spending $100,000 on what Edwards said would be a temporary fix of the golf course property.

“After we got through talking about it, I asked Don Sisko what $100,000 could do at Heritage Park as a permanent fix,’’ Edwards said.

Heritage Park is located near the Hope Mills dam and lake area and has historical ties to the community’s rich history as the home of textile mills. Edwards said Sisko replied that the $100,000 applied to Heritage Park would allow the town to do a lot of things.

To get a first-hand look at the potential for Heritage Park, Edwards said she reached out to Hope Mills town manager Melissa Adams to arrange a tour of the property for herself, with Sisko as her guide.

What she saw impressed her. Two members of the public works staff were working on the trails and greenways that the area offers.

“It’s the first time I’ve been all the way through it,’’ Edwards said. “He took me down to where the creek is. It’s just beautiful. The serenity.

“It’s wonderful.’’

Edwards said Sisko showed her four or five greenways leading through the park, along with an area that could be leveled out to accommodate picnic tables.

“For something like this, we wouldn’t have to consult or pay for an engineer to design it,’’ Edwards said. “We have staff that are very qualified to do this.’’

She added that Sisko has a lot of foresight and ingenuity when it comes to developing the park to its fullest potential. “He’s like a visionary,’’ she said.

There is also potential to share the history of the town’s roots as a mill village, Edwards said, while using it as an opportunity to bring more art to the community.

The old gates from the previous dam are still there on the grounds of the future park. According to Edwards, Sisko said they could be refurbished to be put on display. He also talked about the possibility of storyboards to tell more about the town’s past.

“There is a lot of history there, and a lot of work to be done,’’ Edwards said. 

While some of the area is rough and steep in places, Edwards said she managed to navigate it without a major challenge.

She would love to see Heritage Park completed and linked with the walkingareas at the dam and the lake, and eventually with the town museum that’s also being discussed.

“It would be so nice to walk from the lake over to Heritage Park,’’ she said. “I think the citizens of Hope Mills would rather see the money used that way than in a temporary fix somewhere else. That’s just me thinking.’’

While the existing trails in Heritage Park would need some work, Edwards said an effort should be made to keep the area as natural as possible. “It needs to stay like Mother Nature,’’ she said. “You don’t want to change too much.’’

For safety purposes, Edwards doesn’t think grilling should be allowed in the area because of the potential fire hazard.

Edwards encourages interested citizens to take a look at the property themselves by reaching out to town manager Adams about arranging a guided tour of the area. She said people should not try and visit the property on their own without permission. “I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt,’’ she said.

“Maybe they can see the possibility of what’s going on, how beautiful and how quiet,’’ Edwards said. “The scenery around it is just beautiful.’’

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