ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Tucked behind homes in Asheboro's downtown area, Mayor David Smith hopes to give more than three acres of overgrown land a new purpose.
"Once we start clearing and moving the forest line back a little bit you’ll see it’s a huge piece of property," Smith said, while walking the property.
Smith hopes to turn the property, once belonging to the McCrary family, into a downtown arboretum. He's raising money to buy the land from its current owner, former Mayor David Jarrell.
“I envision kids having field trips to this property, as part of my dream I see it as a wedding venue,” Smith said.
He hopes to purchase the land for $165,000 before the end of the year. Smith said Jarrell is offering the property at a discounted rate to the city.
“We just see it as being an incredible asset to downtown Asheboro,” Smith said.
He has already drafted preliminary plans for the park, but says once they meet the fundraising goal a master plan will be created for construction.
Smith added that the city would apply for grants to partially fund the park's construction.
“I would be disappointed if it takes us over five years," he said.
Smith says he hopes to preserve the property from development, especially in a growing community.
"I just want to be forward thinking, and progressive, and somewhere down the road, someone is going to say, 'It was so cool that someone wanted to save this property,'" he said.
Smith said a committee has been formed to collect donations. He said more than $11,000 has already been raised.