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Tory Hole Park to close for upgrades; Brown’s Creek Park at Locks to close for a year

By Erin Smith

Tory Hole Park in Elizabethtown is set to close temporarily to the public beginning Wednesday. The closure is to allow crews to perform grading work to the parking lot and installing new playground equipment. Elizabethtown Parks and Recreation Director Rod Fritz said Tory Hole Park is anticipated to be closed to the public for about four weeks.

“When we start grading for the parking lot, we will need to close the park temporarily,” said Fritz.

Fritz said work in the parking lot includes a gravel parking lot with bumper stops and the installation of a sidewalk on both sides of the parking area. Assistant Town Manager Pat DeVane also said the town has plans to construct a boardwalk along the river to connect to a walking/hiking trail in the Cypress woods and back into Tory Hole Park.

Other improvements planned for the park include a complete renovation of the amphitheater and restrooms, as well, said Fritz. The amphitheater upgrades will feature new seating, a new stage, new lighting system, and electrical upgrades for a projector. An outdoor classroom is also proposed for the park.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed playground shows swings, slides, a climbing area and a merry-go-round as well as a table and benches.

He added town staff have already completed the installation of a disc golf course. The work at Tory Hole Park is part of a $250,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant.  

Fritz and DeVane both said the NC Wildlife Commission boat launch located at the Tory Hole Park will remain open to the public during the park’s renovations.

DeVane did add the Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to close the Brown’s Creek Park at Lock and Dam No. 2 in Elizabethtown beginning on November 6th for a period of one year to repair a hole in the dam caused by Hurricane Matthew. During this time, access to the Cape Fear River will be restricted to the Tory Hole Park launch and Lock and Dam No. 3 at Tar Heel, the NC Fish and Wildlife boat launch at Elwell Ferry and Lock and Dam No. 1 in East Arcadia.

“Basically, no sportsman in Bladen County will be able to get to the water to launch a boat for a year,” said DeVane.

He explained that during the months of April and May, during the local Shad run, about 5,000 sportsmen usually visit the area and utilize the boat launch at Lock and Dam No. 2. DeVane emphasized that the Shad season in 2018, the only public access point to that particular section of the Cape Fear River will be available at the NC Fish and Wildlife’s Elwell Ferry boat launch.

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