Sustain Charlotte Social: Parks and Recreation (March 28, 2024)

Attendees at the second Sustain Charlotte Social in March

Sustain Charlotte welcomed over 75 residents to its second Sustain Charlotte Social of the year. (Photo: Sophia Ege)It was all sunshine and smiles at Town Brewing Co. on Thursday as over 75 residents engaged in our second Sustain Charlotte Social of the year, presented in partnership with Truist. This event, which focused on Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, began with refreshments and time for networking around local sustainability issues.

Sustain Charlotte Founder and Executive Director Shannon Binns opened the presentation by welcoming the community before turning it over to Town Brewing Co.’s Director of Operations, Brandon Stirewalt, to introduce an innovative new brew cleverly titled ‘ReNew Brew.’ Following the promotion of this sustainable beverage, Mecklenburg County Park & Rec staff Bert Lynn and Katie Lloyd gave a presentation, followed by an interactive Q&A and an ending statement by County Commission Chair George Dunlap.


Slide from SC Social Park and Rec

Sustain Charlotte Advocacy Manager Hope Wright reviewed top contributors to the greenhouse gas emissions for the Charlotte area (hint: road and rail transportation is the biggest contributing sector). She then invited the audience to learn more about the Strategic Mobility Plan and the Mecklenburg County Playbook to broaden the discussion around what is being done by the city and county to address climate issues for our residents.

Katie Lloyd Park and Rec speaker

This was followed by presentations by Park & Recreation Division Director of Capital Planning, Bert Lynn, and Park & Recreation Senior Planner Katie Lloyd, who discussed current and upcoming projects. They covered parks and nature preserves, facilities, greenways, land acquisition, future Capital Improvement Projects, and more.

The audience may have been surprised to learn facts, such as these:

There are 47 park and greenway projects currently funded and underway: Recently completed projects include the Devonshire Park, Tryon Hills Park, and Independence Park. Ezell Park, a 90.6-acre park in Mint Hill, will start construction this spring. Eastland Park and Archdale Park are in design stages and are close to going into construction.

There are 12 currently funded facility projects: The Mallard Creek Recreation Center is being updated to complete in Spring 2025, Discovery Place Nature is a project expected to be completed in Fall of 2025 in Freedom Park, and Latta Place and Ribbonwalk Nature Center are also being reviewed for design and development.

In addition to the 72 miles of existing greenway, there are an additional 45 miles of funded greenway projects that are currently in design, under construction, or planned for future development. Recently completed greenway projects include segments of the Steward Tributary Greenway, Irvins Creek Greenway, and Long Creek Greenway (Phase 2).

Land acquisition makes up another strong effort to expand green spaces within Mecklenburg County. Purchasing land now will help to meet equity metrics by filling gaps in under-resourced communities, accounting for growth, restoring and protecting ecology, and aligning with the Environmental Stewardship Action Plan. Overall, this past year has included major progress on numerous projects by Meck County Park & Recreation staff. We hope to see this trend continue, and will advocate for staff to have all the resources they need to keep up the great work!

For more information, you can find the presentation PowerPoint slides here. The video recording is available here.

Sustain Social attendees gather for food and drinks

In closing, County Commission Chair George Dunlap reminded the audience that he has heard their calls for increasing funding for parks and greenways and, while he “won’t make any promises,” he will be looking into it.

ReNew Brew beverage

Attendees were introduced to the Carolina’s first-ever beer made from recycled wastewater! Brewed by Town Brewing Company in partnership with Xylem and Charlotte Water, this unique pale ale uses re-treating and re-filtering technology to convert the Queen City’s wastewater into a sustainable new brew.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this important event. If you missed it or want to revisit some of the discussion, you can view the presentation PowerPoint slides here.

Make plans now to attend our next Sustain Charlotte Social on May 30th! Tickets will be available soon.

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