Major upgrades transform Stowe Park
By Alan Hodge
“A picture perfect park.”
That’s how Belmont Parks and Recreation director Zip Stowe describes the new look of Stowe Park.
A fixture and attraction in downtown Belmont for decades, Stowe Park has seen some improvements over the years, but the latest phase of work has taken the place to a whole new level of loveliness and usefulness. The project was started back in March.
Topping the list of new upgrades is the pavilion. This structure forms a graceful arch 22-feet high and sits on a 30x40-foot concrete pad. The pavilion is lighted for evening events and will be the perfect venue for concerts, parties, company picnics, even weddings. The pavilion was built by Blueprint Construction out of Graham, N.C. and cost about $150,000 which was paid for out of the city General Fund.
The new stone retaining wall at Stowe Park is a classy addition that blends in with the Spirit of the Fighting Yank WWII memorial statue’s location on S Main St. The wall replaces an eroded dirt embankment and has several levels with each of them filled with nice flowers and shrubs. The stone walkway from the Fighting Yank down to the famed Stowe Park fountain has also been landscaped with rose beds and new benches.
The crumbling main staircase leading into Stowe Park has been replaced with a grand looking stone one. It also features a stunning new center metal handrail that’s
built to resemble leaves and foliage. The rail was designed by Tiz Johnston of Gastonia.
The drainage problem in the center of the park often left that area a soggy mess after heavy rain, but that problem has been solved. Numerous picnic tables and mulch have replaced the mud. Grass has been sown there and it’s coming up nicely.
“The grass looks awesome,” Stowe said.
About the only thing that’s left to totally finish the Stowe Park facelift is the placement of some new playground equipment that will include a handicapped accessible roundabout and play unit for kids aged two to five years.
“The factory that’s making the playground equipment had to close so delivery has been delayed,” said Stowe.
Besides Stowe Park, other parks in Belmont have been getting a going over.
“Davis Park will also eventually get new playground equipment,” said Stowe. “Other parks such as Linford and Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park have been getting landscaping work and rubber mulch.”
A note- as of this week, park restrooms and playgrounds are still closed, but Belmont parks are still a great place to visit and enjoy some peaceful scenery and shade.