Kudos on starting park project

Published 6:15 pm Monday, November 1, 2021

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A project that has been on the books — and in the hearts and minds of Franklin folks — for quite a few years is finally under way.

Last week, the city hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Riverwalk Park. 

This park is located on part of land that was donated to the city from International Paper in 2018. The concept had been talked about as far back as 1999, as city leaders sought ideas to revitalize the town after the massive flooding from Hurricane Floyd. Changes in city leadership and the coronavirus pandemic then delayed the project for the past two years. However, we’re glad to see it finally under way.

A lot of people had to come together for this project to take place. Franklin city leaders, of course, have a huge hand in this project and set aside money for it. International Paper, which donated the land, deserves thanks. Grants from the Arbor Day Foundation and the International Paper Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, helped begin construction. Volunteers from International Paper have already planted 30 trees on the land and plan to return next year for more planting.

Also participating in last week’s ceremony was Scott Bachman, senior forester with the Department of Forestry, presenting the city with the Arbor Day Foundation’s “tree city” award, its 37th consecutive one. State government officials as well as Isle of Wight County folks were on hand.

This project will help manage stormwater in the area and include a picnic pavilion, benches, walking trail and kayak launch, as well as a parking lot to serve visitors.

This project holds great potential to be a draw for residents and visitors alike to have a beautiful, safe place to spend time outdoors and on the water with their families and friends. There is much to like about it and, with the heavy grant funding, it is easy on the wallet of local taxpayers.