Enka Recreation Destination Gets Important Greenlight

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The Enka Recreation Destination is another step closer to reality. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners recently approved a series of steps that will have improvements and construction begin on some aspects of the project.

Ultimately, the $12 million facility will create the Enka Heritage Trail, provide upgrades to the Buncombe County Sports Park, add lighting at Bob Lewis Ballpark, connect existing greenways, and more.

This project showcases Recreation Service’s ability to leverage outside funding as it has secured $6 million from the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) and $4.8 million from federal grants leaving Buncombe County to foot only $1.2 million of the overall cost. Buncombe County is very excited about this world class destination that will attract tournaments, tourists, and more but also significantly improve the quality of life for our residents.

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County Recreation Director Josh O’Conner says the Commissioners’ approval really gets the ball rolling. “This puts us in line to start installation of lights at Bob Lewis and also aligns the funding so we can start on improvements,” explains O’Conner, noting new turf and lighting will be the first improvements the public sees.

Some additional upgrades and improvements include:

  • Three turf fields capable of hosting 11 vs. 11 soccer games
  • Lighting for turf fields
  • 4,000 feet of linear natural surface trail for internal park circulation
  • Handicap accessibility upfits
  • Additional parking
  • Challenge course
  • Yalp court
  • Sports agility course
  • Picnic pavilion with restrooms and Wi-Fi capability
  • Dog park
  • Recreation-quality multisport field. The field will be large enough to host 11 vs. 11 soccer

Commissioners also approved leasing lights for the parking lot at Bob Lewis Ballpark which will bolster the facility’s safety and functionality. The specifics of the approved next steps include:

  • TDA grant agreement summary: Establishes reimbursable grant funding relationship between the TDA and Buncombe County.
  • EYSO usage and operating agreement: Establishes operating guidelines and public use for ball fields to be improved.
  • Greenway operating and easement agreement: Establishes operating guidelines and Buncombe County’s option to take possession of greenway parcels via easement, lease, or fee simple.
  • Agreement between EYSO and Buncombe County whereby EYSO agrees to transfer: Establishes EYSO’s intent to grant Buncombe County the option to take possession of greenway parcels via easement, lease, or fee simple.
  • MUSCO lighting contracts: Two purchase agreements that establish specifications and costs associated with purchase and installation of ball field lighting at Bob Lewis and Buncombe County Sports Park.

You can read more about the Enka Recreation Destination at www.buncombecounty.org.