The city of Richmond Hill will open its new park at 10 a.m. April 22 with a ribbon cutting and a free 5K run/walk.
Development of the 187-acre Sterling Creek Park behind the Sterling Creek Plantation subdivision off Harris Trail began last summer.
A steering committee charged with designing the park started meeting about a year ago to discuss the first phase of what is considered a “passive park” that eventually will include running, mountain biking and walking trails, primitive camping and fishing. It is termed a passive park because it will not include facilities for organized team sports such as baseball, softball or soccer.
The committee decided that phase 1 of the project would include the construction of a parking lot, restrooms and a fishing dock at a small lake that is considered the centerpiece of the property. Running and biking enthusiasts mapped out locations for trails and determined the materials needed to construct them. Swimming will not be allowed in the lake unless it is part of an organized event, such as a triathlon, and participants would be required to sign liability waivers.
The city purchased the land five years ago from a bank for $700,000.
“There was some interest from a developer who wanted to put homes in there, but that would have led to some real access problems,” Councilman Russ Carpenter said. “It’s a great location for a park because J.F. Gregory is pretty much maxed out and is more of an event venue than a recreation site.”