Park and Recreation Helps Residents Anticipate Future Park Projects

Lady with dog walking a nature trail

The Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department is making it easier for neighbors to know when land near them is purchased and planned for future parks or nature preserves.  

Nearly 60 future parks and preserves, totaling approximately 3,000 acres of parkland, await full funding and development. Additionally, the County continues to purchase land for green spaces and conservation. Residents can now locate future park projects and track land purchases using the Mecklenburg County Parkland Reserves webpage. 

Increased Focus on Land Acquisition 

Mecklenburg County has ramped up its focus on land acquisition over the last several years. The County’s Environmental Leadership Action Plan and the Meck Playbook master plan for Park and Recreation, both adopted in 2021, underscore the need to acquire land to increase access to public open space and protect nature resources.  

“We are ambitious in our land acquisition goals,” said W. Lee Jones, director of the Park and Recreation Department. “As custodians of public lands, it is our responsibility to protect these resources for future generations, to support human health and wellbeing, and to ensure all residents have equitable access to outdoor spaces.”

In its Fiscal Year 2024 budget, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners allocated $50 million for land acquisition. At the same time, the Board adopted a five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that included another $50 million to purchase new parkland between Fiscal Years 2025-2028.  

These investments are building on previous successes. In FY 2023 alone, the County acquired 495 acres for parks, greenways and preserves using $50 million from that fiscal year’s budget.  

“Between the long-term vision of our department and County leadership, and the support of our Board, we have been able to expand access to parkland in key areas across the county,” Park and Recreation Capital Planning Division Director Bert Lynn said of the nearly $150 million in investments since FY 2023. “We surpassed our land acquisition goal last year and have been able to lay the groundwork for additional acquisitions over the next 12 months.” 

Engaging with Park Neighbors

Residents are invited to engage with Park and Recreation staff on dozens of projects, such as the 5.6-acre Graham Street Park in north Charlotte, and the Piedmont Pine Nature Preserve comprising 69.3-acres of hardwood forest that protects the Sherman Branch watershed near Mint Hill.   

The Parkland Reserves webpage lists future local parks (parks accessible to neighbors by walking or cycling), regional parks (parks that will include parking), and nature preserves that will act as wildlife refuges and areas for nature-based recreation. 

“We have received enthusiastic questions about the parkland reserves that the County has recently acquired, so we created the page to be a starting point for dialogue with community members,” said Katie Lloyd, senior planner with Park and Recreation. “We look forward to hearing ideas for the future activation of these park sites.”

Learn more about all major capital projects by the Park and Recreation Department.