Neighbors and community members have an opportunity to help plan new amenities at a 33-acre natural area near neighborhoods in northeast Cornelius.
Intersected by Northwest Hobbs Road, East Council Creek Natural Area protects portions of Council Creek and provides habitat for fish and wildlife. With money from voter investments, Metro is planning meaningful public access to nature while continuing to protect habitat and water quality.
More than a dozen community members attended an open house at Centro Cultural on May 17 and were asked to share their ideas for East Council Creek, how they use natural areas, and what makes them feel safe and welcome in nature. The questionnaire can be taken online until June 15.
“We have this asset on behalf of residents of our region because of voter investments that have enabled us to acquire and protect nature for your benefit and the benefit of wildlife and trees and plants,” Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington said at the open house, the first of three to be held this year.
Metro purchased the natural area about 15 years ago to protect clean water and create healthier habitat for fish and wildlife.
Metro will be working with the City of Cornelius and the community over the next year to develop a plan for public access to the natural area. This includes choosing amenities such as a welcoming entry, parking, picnic facilities, a nature trail, nature play areas and opportunities to learn about the site. The plan is expected to be finalized in the spring of 2018, and Metro will manage the natural area when it opens.
Some neighbors shared concerns about illegal camping and late night uses of East Council Creek Natural Area, as well as security at the site.
Cornelius Mayor Jeffrey Dalin encouraged neighbors to report any issues to police now or in the future. “Please don’t sit in silence if there’s something going on in your neighborhood,” he said. “The areas we know about, we will address.”
One neighbor said she’s looking forward to a nearby place to converge that’s a little different than a city park. She also said that parking in her neighborhood is already limited, so she would support on-site parking.
“It’s great to get to work on a nature park that’s right in the backyard of a neighborhood.” Metro planner Olena Turula said. “That’s one of the things that most exciting about this project—we get to figure out how to connect people who live right next to a natural area, to nature.”
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