parks

The ParkScore map for Mecklenburg County identified suggested sites (blue dots) for the next new parks.  Red and orange areas have "very high" and "high" need for parks.
ParkScore / Trust for Public Lands

Updated 1:56 p.m.
Charlotte and Mecklenburg County moved up one place from last year in an annual study that ranks cities on spending and access to public parks. But the region still ranks 96th out of the 100 largest U.S. cities in the 2019 ParkScore Index.

The annual ranking compiled by the Trust for Public Land looks at the percentage of residents who live near a park, total acreage, park amenities and total investment.

A map on the ParkScore ranking website shows areas of Charlotte most in need of parks in red (very high) and orange (high).
Trust for Public Lands

An annual ranking of public park systems puts Charlotte near the bottom of the 100 largest US cities.  The ParkScore Index from the Trust for Public Lands ranks Charlotte and Mecklenburg County 97th, based on spending, park acreage and other factors.  

County commissioners Wednesday night approved an exchange of land with the Charlotte Housing Authority that will allow the expansion of Pearl Street Park off Kenilworth Avenue. The deal also could lead to more affordable housing in the Midtown area.

Mecklenburg County Commissioners could give final approval Wednesday night to a land swap with the Charlotte Housing Authority in the Midtown area. The swap would trigger a complex series of deals that are part of a major redevelopment.

David Boraks / WFAE

Mecklenburg County will offer a free shuttle bus to the new Ramsey Creek beach on Lake Norman beginning Saturday, to ease parking and traffic congestion.

David Boraks / WFAE

Updated Tuesday, May 24, 2016
The first public beach on the Mecklenburg County side of Lake Norman is on schedule to open this weekend, just in time for the Memorial Day holiday.  That's after state and county officials reached a compromise to use local police for temporary traffic control near the park.

The Conservation Fund and private donors have assembled about 2,700 acres of land north and west of Mount Mitchell that will become part of the park. Here's a springtime view from Mount Mitchell.
David Boraks / WFAE

A Hairy Woodpecker tap-tap-taps on a pine tree just below the summit of Mount Mitchell. It’s a sunny spring day. It’s 46 degrees - about 10 degrees cooler than nearby Burnsville.

With the park now open after winter, superintendent Bryan Wilder says visitors are flocking here.  

Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation

  A new beach is scheduled to open around Memorial Day on Lake Norman in Cornelius. It will be the first public swimming beach in a Mecklenburg County park in about 40 years, and it may not be the last.

NC Division of Parks & Recreation

Six North Carolina state parks attracted more than a million visitors each in 2015. Jordan Lake near Raleigh was the most-visited, with 1.6 million visits last year.  

Overall, a record 17.3 million people visited the state’s parks last year, up 11 percent from 2014. Good weather during peak season made a difference. But so did events, says state parks director Mike Murphy.

North Carolina State Parks

A man was rescued Saturday after being stranded on an island in the Broad River for several days. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are hoping several suspects can be extradited from Jamaica in 2016 to face trial on charges they bilked Americans out of millions of dollars with promises of lottery winnings. One of the scammers already tried and sentenced was arrested in North Carolina two years ago. And North Carolina state parks are getting ready to celebrate their centennial with hikes on New Year's Day. 

Julie Rose

Charlotte has a lot riding on professional sports: millions of tax dollars built an arena for the Bobcats, are helping construct a new home for Knights baseball Uptown and will likely renovate Panthers stadium, too. So does it surprise you to learn that more than half of the city's hotel room bookings each year are the result of amateur athletes


Flickr/cheriejoyful / Flickr

Concealed handguns could soon be allowed in Mecklenburg county parks and recreational areas.

The county doesn’t really have a choice.  A state law last year allowed concealed carry in parks, and the county commission will vote Tuesday night to put Mecklenburg in compliance.

Parks Operations Director Jeff Robinson explains the gist of the law: “It’s okay to carry a handgun as long as you have a permit, unless you’re at a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool, or an athletic facility.”