The 'battle' may not be lost for an undeveloped county park approved by voters in 2006

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Neighbors in the Echo Farms community have proven that a community effort can produce results as leaders in New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington announced plans Wednesday for a joint purchase of part of the old golf course property to preserve green space.

Those neighbors rallied for months to limit the eventual development of that property.

But will the grassroots effort inspire other local community efforts? For more than a decade, neighbors just down the road from Echo Farms have pushed for the completion of Battle Park along Carolina Beach Road, which voters approved as part of a multi-faceted parks bond in 2006. The park has never been built.

Signs in that area raise the question of when Battle Park will be built, but as late as 2017, county officials told us the plans were a non-starter. The money has been redirected to develop Northern Regional Park in Castle Hayne. Officials argue Veterans Park near Ashley High School serves that purpose for that portion of the county.

At the time, New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple said the county should revisit the project and it appears now that effort is underway. A phase one environmental study of the area came back clean, according to Zapple.

"Looking out six years, there's money in our parks and gardens department that is being targeted for a preliminary study and design of Battle Park," Zapple said. "That will show up. It's not there now. It will show up in the five-year plan that will come out next year. It's moving along."

New Hanover County purchased the 42-acre tract of land from the Cameron family in 1992 for $470,000.

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