In early 2019, the Town of Leland engaged WithersRavenel to conduct a Master Plan for 37 acres of waterfront property to become a nature-based park. The master plan process was intended to guide the development of Sturgeon Creek Park through a systematic method of research, site analysis and stakeholder input.
Because of this Park’s importance to Leland’s Gateway District, this approach extends beyond the specific property lines of the park in an effort to develop a cohesive plan that connects the Park to the surrounding communities. The Town of Leland had recently conducted several planning efforts to build a collective vision for growth in the Town, and the park Master Plan process helped ensure that this important asset continues to provide a quality nature-based recreation experience for future generations to come.
In addition to a thorough research and site analysis effort, the Sturgeon Creek Park Master Plan required a multi-faceted approach to public involvement that was developed in order to obtain as much public input as possible in a limited time-frame.
The primary goals of the plan’s public participation were to raise awareness of the project, garner support for the park development, and obtain input from residents on ideas for park programming and concepts. Due to the timing of the Master Plan effort, the project team was provided with a unique opportunity to engage a substantial portion of the community in a special event setting.
On September 14, 2019, the Town of Leland Hosted their annual Founders Day to celebrate the Town’s birthday. The event, which drew approximately 5,000 people, featured live music, food trucks, arts and crafts, business vendors, and fireworks.
This special event and the large number of attendees provided an ideal setting to engage with members of the community who may otherwise not participate in the public involvement process.
The final Master Plan Concept included a motorized boat launch in coordination with NC Wildlife, a boardwalk trail system with the potential for future connections, a multi-use trail connected to the main commercial district, fishing piers, wildlife viewing areas, natural area preservation, a small nature center, and a nature-themed playground. The project is currently in the final stages of the Master Plan process, with presentation to the Town Council scheduled for December.