ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- The new caretakers of Swepsonville River Park are not wasting any time in making improvements at the Alamance County park.
"Just trying to beautify the place a little bit. It was already in good shape when we got it and just trying to protect the resource here,” said Brian Baker, director of Alamance County Recreation and Parks.
The parks department is now maintaining one of the oldest parks along the Haw River. Swepsonville River Park was opened by the Town of Swepsonville in 2004. The 30 acres of land at the confluence of the Haw River and Big Alamance Creek quickly became a popular place for locals and hikers along the Haw River Trail. With 75,000 people visiting the park each year, the small town of Swepsonville turned the park over to Alamance County.
"This is what we do as a parks department," Baker said. "We have the tools to get it done so we took over this park and operate it."
Alamance County has already done some landscaping at the park and improved the parking lot. Plus, gates will lock Swepsonville River Park at night for the very first time. Baker says future park enhancements will include expanding the walking trail, making river access for canoes and kayaks easier and building restrooms to go along with better picnic spaces. According to Baker, the upgrades will be inexpensive.
"We do a lot of it in house. We don't hire contractors to build these things. In the winter they are not mowing so they come out and work on these places," Baker said.
Alamance County Recreation and Parks is also looking at ways to highlight the historical features of where Swepsonville River Park is located. You can see where a mill built around 1760 once stood. Also, several influential North Carolinians once owned the land.