BY KARISSA MILLER
Iredell County officials broke ground Friday morning on Jennings Park, which will include soccer fields, a walking trail, pickle ball courts, an all-inclusive playground and other amenities.
The 69.12-acre park is located at 141 Dietz Road near Statesville. Construction will begin in August with an estimated completion date of March 2025.
The estimated $27 million project was approved by the Iredell County Board of Commissioners earlier this month. In an effort to save money, the board decided to fund and build the entire park rather than build it in phases over time.
The architect for the project is Stewart Engineering. The construction of the park is going to be handled by Edifice General Contractors.
Some key park features include:
• Park infrastructure;
• Inclusive playground;
• Four baseball fields;
• Four soccer fields;
• Disc Golf Course (18 holes)
• Multi-purpose turf field;
• Four pickleball courts;
• Ropes course and zip line;
• Concession stands, press box and restrooms;
• Picnic shelters;
• Events lawn
• 1.77 miles of walking trails, which includes ADA accessible trails; and
• Maintenance and ground building
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by county staff, present and former county commissioners, parks and recreation advisory members and several children.
Iredell County Board of Commissioners Chair Melissa Neader told attendees that the community park is for citizens of all abilities and ages and will provide exceptional recreation opportunities for years to come.
“This is going to be a state-of-the-art facility. It’s something for our community to be proud of. The county is excited about this opportunity to support our athletes young and old,” Neader said.
Vice Char Bert Connolly thanked past commissioners, parks and recreation staff, county officials and others who helped bring Jennings Park one step closer to fruition.
Commissioner Brad Stroud thanked Stacy McGlamery and other Parks and Recreation staff for their efforts to secure a grant to fund the all-inclusive playground.
The playground space will remove physical and social barriers, allowing children of all abilities the opportunity to play. The county will have the opportunity to build and design it around the needs of the community.
Leia Eggett, 4, and Cody Sherrill, 19, were invited to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony. They will benefit from the all-inclusive playground.
“This means everything. There are not many accessible playgrounds in Iredell County. You cannot push a wheelchair through mulch. Most playgrounds have mulch,” said Leia’s mom, Bethany Eggett.
Leia and Cody were both born with Spina Bifida, a condition that affects the spine, and both rely on wheelchairs. Bethany has started a page on Facebook called Leia’s Light: Shining through Spina Bifida to share Leia’s story and offer support for other parents and children. Visit https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100093537295599 for more information.
“When we’re done here, I want to be here to see that smile and know that they are able to come here at no cost to the family,” Stroud said.
Iredell County Project Manager David Saleeby said that the measures for a successful Jennings Park project include zero recordable injuries, staying on budget and completing on schedule.