CLAYTON — The town council on Monday agreed to buy 39 more acres next to Clayton’s River Walk. The purchase creates a 120-acre tract for a future park.
The town will pay $600,000 for the land, which is at the intersection of Loop and Covered Bridge roads.
Town Manager Steve Biggs said Clayton will use the land for a park, with possible uses including a dog park and an amphitheater. At the moment, though, those are just ideas as the town looks for funding to develop the park.
Parks and Recreation Director Larry Bailey said the topography of the newly-purchased land is ideal. “It gives us a lot of options there because of the nature of the site,” he said. “It’s a fairly flat site, which is unusual to be that close to the river.”
After gathering input from residents, Boy Scout leaders, college students, school teachers and others, the town put together a comprehensive plan for the site.
That plan includes an amphitheater, hiking trails, ropes course, dog park, zip line, camping area, outdoor classrooms and an adventure center with kayak and canoe rentals.
“We’d like to see a nature center there where school groups could go do field trips and things like that,” Bailey said.
The town is buying the land from the DuPont company, which had an agricultural research site there in the 1970s. The company used a trench on the land for the then-legal dumping of chemicals.
DuPont will restore the contaminated land through the N.C. Brownfields Program. That program protects Clayton from any land-remediation costs as long as it sticks to its plan for the park.
This is not the town’s first brownfield project. Fire Station No. 2 and a practice field on N.C. 42 East are on a former brownfield.
The town will not have to borrow money to buy the land. A surge in revenue from sales tax and building permits has boosted the town’s cash reserves.
In all, the council on Monday agreed to spend $1.2 million of that cash on capital projects, including the land purchase.
Biggs said the revenue growth, coupled with austerity measures, had made it possible to pursue capital projects put off during the recession. Those projects will also benefit from a $50,000 grant.
In addition to buying the park land, the money will pay for a permanent trailhead and parking lot for Sam’s Branch Greenway.
The town will also buy equipment including a mower and a track loader for sidewalk and street demolition.
Parks and Recreation will use the mower to maintain its 10 fields during the growing season.
The town expects the 72-inch mower to perform that maintenance task 20 percent faster than current equipment, creating a time savings of 290 hours a year. Biggs, the town manager, calculated the dollar savings at $5,800.
Other capital dollars will go to maintain and repair drainage ditches and pipes that have needed repairs for years.