Reedy Creek Nature Preserve expansion touches 3 schools

Reedy Creek Nature Preserve addition

Mecklenburg County recently bought 100 acres beside Reedy Creek Nature Preserve. Four public properties also adjoin the newly added land: 1. Grier Academy; 2. CPCC’s Cato Campus; 3. Northridge Middle School; City of Charlotte property

Two public schools and the CPCC Cato Campus have gained important access to a great learning resource, thanks to Mecklenburg County’s recent purchase of 100 acres for the planned Reedy Creek Greenway.

The new addition to Reedy Creek Nature Preserve adjoins Northeast Middle School, Grier Academy and the Cato Campus. With more than 1,000 acres and a staffed nature center, the nature preserve should eventually help students get first-hand knowledge of our local environment and wildlife.

New addition creates 1,200-acre block of public land

The new property creates a solid block of Charlotte and Mecklenburg land totaling nearly 1,200 acres bordered by East WT Harris Blvd, Plaza Road Extension and Grier Road. Reedy Creek Park and adjoining Reedy Creek Nature Preserve hold about 1,050 acres; the three schools comprise about 100 acres; and a city fire station and other city-owned land total about 30 acres more.

Mecklenburg County bought the new addition in early May for about $2 million. The seller, Cox Media Group, paid nearly $2.3 million for the same land about 17 months earlier, when it bought the property from WSOC Television.

Besides adding important land to the nature preserve, the new land will provide a path for the first phase of Reedy Creek Greenway, between Grier Road and Plaza Road Extension. The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter’s Tony Mecia recently told WFAE that the county has no other plans for developing the new addition to the nature preserve, other than perhaps to add a few picnic tables.

Nature Center provides classrooms, displays, programs

Reedy Creek Nature Center

Reedy Creek Nature Center currently is closed due to the pandemic. The center normally is open daily. A nearby shaded woodland playground remains open.

The Reedy Creek Nature Center has been closed throughout the pandemic. The facility has small nature displays, plus classrooms and restrooms. The center offers many programs for children and adults both inside and within the nature preserve.

The new county land closes a critical hole in Reedy Creek Nature Preserve. Visitors to the Nature Center would never have known that the heavily forested park has ended just a few yards from the nature center. A popular hiking trail to Plaza Road Extension also skirted that private land.

Award-winning Reedy Creek restoration

Reedy Creek renovation

A hiking trail helps visitors enjoy Reedy Creek’s extensive restoration

The newly added tract also helps protect the upper reaches of the Reedy Creek watershed from urban runoff and pollution.

The new property and 10 adjoining acres of city property meet at what is probably the second-highest point in Mecklenburg County, at over 850 feet above sea level. The former WSOC TV tower and a water tower are located at that high point. By the time Reedy Creek exits the nature preserve more than a mile away, it has dropped about 200 feet.

Reedy Creek before

This is how the creek looked prior to restoration. Farmers channelized the stream many years ago.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services in 2019 completed restoring about 8 miles streams through the park and nearby private property to undo decades of damage from severe erosion and outdated farming practices. The Reedy Creek restoration project improved wildlife habitat and improved water quality downstream.

The project received the 2020 Green Infrastructure Award from the National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies

With the added 100 acres, most of the water entering this part of the creek will come from within the park itself.

Visit Reedy Creek Park and Reedy Creek Nature Preserve

Robinson Rock House

Robinson Rock House at Reedy Creek Nature Preserve

The single entrance to the park and nature preserve is at 2900 Rocky River Road, about a mile east of East WT Harris Boulevard. DIRECTIONS

Reedy Creek Park, with 146 acres, has numerous picnic shelters that can be reserved, ballfields, playgrounds, A 10-acre lake, a dog park, a disc golf course and extensive wide gravel trails through forest. MORE

Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, with more than 1,000 acres, offers 10 miles of hiking trails including one to the ruins of the 18th century Robinson Rock House. DOWNLOAD PARK MAP

The staffed Nature Center provides a good jumping-off point with displays of park wildlife, park maps, a small gift shop and classrooms for frequent programs. The Nature Center has been closed during the pandemic. MORE

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