BURLINGTON, N.C. – A project years in the making is now taking shape.
People in Burlington have been watching and waiting for the first-ever arboretum to be complete in town off South Church Street.
Crews needed to clean up the area and complete the stream restoration before they could start adding in some of the features that can now be seen.
Right now, multiple construction areas are fenced off. Crews have put in the support beams for a bridge and are pouring concrete on a new winding sidewalk.
Lee Roane has been watching the progress since the idea came about in 2016.
“I’ve been walking up and down Willow Brook Creek also known as Brown Branch for probably close to 30 years now,” Roane said.
A nonprofit working to beautify Alamance County is working with the city on the $2.3 million project at Willow Park.
“It’s not that it had fallen into disrepair but it was an opportunity to upgrade to make it more attractive,” said Rett Davis, the president of New Leaf Society.
When complete, there will be a building with restrooms and a memorial plaza and overlook featuring a sculpture to honor veterans.
More than 100 trees will be planted, gardens will begin to grow and kids will be able to play in multiple areas.
“This arboretum will offer an economic development impact to our community,” said Morgan Lasater, the community engagement manager for the city of Burlington.
“I think it’s something people are looking for when they’re looking for a community,” Davis said.
Roane is looking forward to when this project will be complete.
“My wife grew up swinging in this park and all three of our sons have grown up being able to come to this park to play so we’re hoping the Arboretum will offer our grandchildren the same thing,” Roane said.
Donations to New Leaf Society are paying for most of the project, but the city is pitching in and it will hire a full-time employee to take care of the area.
They are hoping to have the project completed by 2021.
You can stay up to date with this process by signing up for an email newsletter on the city of Burlington’s website.